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Novel technology to help understand the context of physical activity and sedentary behaviour.

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posted on 2016-10-18, 15:36 authored by Adam Loveday, Lauren SherarLauren Sherar, James SandersJames Sanders, Paul SandersonPaul Sanderson, Dale EsligerDale Esliger
When used in large, national surveillance programmes, objective measurement tools provide prevalence estimates of low physical activity guideline compliance and high amounts of sedentary time. There are undoubtedly a plethora of reasons for this but one possible contributing factor is the current lack of behavioural context offered by accelerometers and posture sensors. Context includes information such as where the behaviour occurs, the type of activity being performed and is vital in allowing greater refinement of intervention strategies. Novel technologies are emerging with the potential to provide this information. Example data from three ongoing studies is used to illustrate the utility of these technologies. Study one assesses the concurrent validity of electrical energy monitoring and wearable cameras as measures of television viewing. This study found that on average the television is switched on for 202 min d(-1) but is visible in just 90 min of wearable camera images with a further 52 min where the participant is in their living room but the television is not visible in the image. Study two utilises indoor location monitoring to assess where older adult care home residents accumulate their sedentary time. This study found that residents were highly sedentary (sitting for an average of 720 min d(-1)) and spent the majority of their time in their own rooms with more time spent in communal areas in the morning than in the afternoon. Lastly, study three discusses the use of proximity sensors to quantify exposure to a height adjustable desk. These studies are example applications of this technology, with many other technologies available and applications possible. The adoption of these technologies will provide researchers with a more complete understanding of the behaviour than has previously been available.


The work in this paper is part of the research portfolio supported by the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care—East Midlands (NIHR CLAHRC for EM) and by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Diet, Lifestyle & Physical Activity Biomedical Research Unit based at University Hospitals of Leicester and Loughborough University. This work was supported by the UK Research Councils' Lifelong Health and Wellbeing Initiative in partnership with the Department of Health (grant number MR/K025090/1).



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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Physiological measurement






1834 - 1851


LOVEDAY, A. ... et al, 2016. Novel technology to help understand the context of physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Physiological Measurement, 37 (10), pp. 1834 - 1851


IOP / © Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine


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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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This is an author-created, un-copyedited version of an article published in Physiological Measurement. IOP Publishing Ltd is not responsible for any errors or omissions in this version of the manuscript or any version derived from it. The Version of Record is available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0967-3334/37/10/1834.






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