International Journal of Exercise Science 12(5): 471-482, 2019. Over the past decade wearable fitness trackers (WFTs) have grown in popularity with more recent versions able to capture the pulse rate noninvasively on the wrist of the wearer. Most of evidence on the validity of WFTs have explored adults in clinical settings. Thus, the purpose of this study is to 1) evaluate the validity of a wrist-placed WFT in determining heart rate, and 2) examine the wear compliance of a wrist-placed WFT, in children in free-living settings. In study 1, 19 children (5-12yrs) wore a Fitbit Charge HR© and a Polar chest strap heart rate (HR) monitor for 2 hours while performing sedentary-to-vigorous activities at a holiday camp in December 2016. In study 2, 20 children with mild developmental disabilities (8-13yrs) were asked to wear a Fitbit Alta HR© during summer 2017. In study 1, mean absolute percent difference between the WFT HR and criterion was 6.9%. Overall, >75% of WFT HRs were within 5-10% of the criterion. Bland Altman plots indicated a moderate-to-high level of agreement between the WFT and criterion (mean difference 4.1%; Limits of Agreement 26.8, -18.5%). In study 2, participants had the device in their possession for 43 days (SD±14, range 14 – 56 days) and wore it on 67% of those days (range: 20 – 96%) for at least 10 hours/day. Preliminary evidence suggests that WFTs can provide comparable HR estimates to a criterion field-based measure and children can wear WFTs for extended monitoring periods in free-living settings.
Brazendale, Keith; Decker, Lindsay; Hunt, Ethan T.; Perry, Michelle W.; Brazendale, Allison B.; Weaver, R Glenn; and Beets, Michael W.
"Validity and Wearability of Consumer-based Fitness Trackers in Free-living Children,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Vol. 12
5, Pages 471 - 482.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol12/iss5/7