A Validation Study of the Fitbit One in Daily Life Using Different Time Intervals

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Abstract

Purpose

Accelerometer-based wearables can provide the user with real-time feedback through the device's interface and the mobile platforms. Few studies have focused on the minute-by-minute validity of wearables, which is essential for high-quality real-time feedback. This study aims to assess the validity of the Fitbit One compared with the ActiGraph GT3x + for assessing physical activity (i.e., steps, time spent in moderate, vigorous, and moderate–vigorous physical activity) in young adults using traditional time intervals (i.e., days) and smaller time intervals (i.e., minutes and hours).

Methods

Healthy young adults (N = 34) wore the ActiGraph GT3x+ and a Fitbit One for 1 wk. Three aggregation levels were used: minute, hour, and day. Mixed models analyses, intraclass correlation coefficients, Bland–Altman analyses, and absolute error percentage for steps per day were conducted to analyze the validity for steps and minutes spent in moderate, vigorous, and moderate–vigorous physical activity.

Results

As compared with ActiGraph (mean = 9 steps per minute, 509 steps per hour and 7636 steps per day), the Fitbit One systematically overestimated physical activity for all aggregation levels: on average 0.82 steps per minute, 45 steps per hour, and 677 steps per day. Strong and significant associations were found between ActiGraph and Fitbit results for steps taken (B = 0.72–0.89). Weaker but statistically significant associations were found for minutes spent in moderate, vigorous, and moderate–vigorous physical activity for all time intervals (B = 0.39–0.57).

Conclusions

Although the Fitbit One overestimates the step activity compared with the ActiGraph, it can be considered a valid device to assess step activity, including for real-time minute-by-minute self-monitoring. However, agreement and correlation between ActiGraph and Fitbit One regarding time spent in moderate, vigorous, and moderate–vigorous physical activity were lower.

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