Logistics of using the Actiheart physical activity monitors in urban Mexico among 7- to 9-year-old children

Logistics of using new measurement devices are important to understand when developing protocols. This paper discusses the logistics of using Actiheart physical activity monitors on children in an urban, tropical environment in a developing country. Actiheart monitoring of 36 children aged 7-9 years old was undertaken for 7 days in the city of Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico. The Actiheart proved fragile for children and difficult to mend in the field. The excessive sweating due to the tropical climate caused poor adherence of the electrode pads, requiring a pad change midway through and extra pads to be provided. Also extra time was needed to be allotted for increased instructions to participants and their mothers and for individual calibration. When collecting objectively measured physical activity data under harsh conditions, the protocol must accommodate local conditions and device limitations and allow increased time with participants to obtain good quality data. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.