Estimating cut points: A simple method for new wearables

A. Hickey, J. Newham, M.M. Slawinska, D. Kwasnicka, Suzanne McDonald, S. Del Din, F.F. Sniehotta, P.A. Davis, A. Godfrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Wearable technology is readily available for continuous assessment due to a growing number of commercial devices with increased data capture capabilities. However, many commercial devices fail to support suitable parameters (cut points) derived from the literature to help quantify physical activity (PA) due to differences in manufacturing. A simple metric to estimate cut points for new wearables is needed to aid data analysis. Objective The purpose of this pilot study was to investigate a simple methodology to determine cut points based on ratios between sedentary behaviour (SB) and PA intensities for a new wrist worn device (PRO-Diary™) by comparing its output to a validated and well characterised 'gold standard' (ActiGraph™). Study design Twelve participants completed a semi-structured (four-phase) treadmill protocol encompassing SB and three PA intensity levels (light, moderate, vigorous). The outputs of the devices were compared accounting for relative intensity. Results Count ratios (6.31, 7.68, 4.63, 3.96) were calculated to successfully determine cut-points for the new wrist worn wearable technology during SB (0-426) as well as light (427-803), moderate (804-2085) and vigorous (≥2086) activities, respectively. Conclusion Our findings should be utilised as a primary reference for investigations seeking to use new (wrist worn) wearable technology similar to that used here (i.e., PRO-Diary™) for the purposes of quantifying SB and PA intensities. The utility of count ratios may be useful in comparing devices or SB/PA values estimated across different studies. However, a more robust examination is required for different devices, attachment locations and on larger/diverse cohorts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-82
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Accelerometer
  • Cut points
  • Physical activity
  • Sedentary behaviour

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