Feasibility of three wearable sensors for 24 hour monitoring in middle-aged women

Jennifer Huberty, Diane K. Ehlers, Jonathan Kurka, Barbara Ainsworth, Matthew Buman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Background: The purpose of this study is to determine the feasibility of three widely used wearable sensors in research settings for 24 h monitoring of sleep, sedentary, and active behaviors in middle-aged women. Methods: Participants were 21 inactive, overweight (M Body Mass Index (BMI) = 29.27 ± 7.43) women, 30 to 64 years (M = 45.31 ± 9.67). Women were instructed to wear each sensor on the non-dominant hip (ActiGraph GT3X+), wrist (GENEActiv), or upper arm (BodyMedia SenseWear Mini) for 24 h/day and record daily wake and bed times for one week over the course of three consecutive weeks. Women received feedback about their daily physical activity and sleep behaviors. Feasibility (i.e., acceptability and demand) was measured using surveys, interviews, and wear time. Results: Women felt the GENEActiv (94.7 %) and SenseWear Mini (90.0 %) were easier to wear and preferred the placement (68.4, 80 % respectively) as compared to the ActiGraph (42.9, 47.6 % respectively). Mean wear time on valid days was similar across sensors (ActiGraph: M = 918.8 ± 115.0 min; GENEActiv: M = 949.3 ± 86.6; SenseWear: M = 928.0 ± 101.8) and well above other studies using wake time only protocols. Informational feedback was the biggest motivator, while appearance, comfort, and inconvenience were the biggest barriers to wearing sensors. Wear time was valid on 93.9 % (ActiGraph), 100 % (GENEActiv), and 95.2 % (SenseWear) of eligible days. 61.9, 95.2, and 71.4 % of participants had seven valid days of data for the ActiGraph, GENEActiv, and SenseWear, respectively. Conclusion: Twenty-four hour monitoring over seven consecutive days is a feasible approach in middle-aged women. Researchers should consider participant acceptability and demand, in addition to validity and reliability, when choosing a wearable sensor. More research is needed across populations and study designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number55
JournalBMC Women's Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Health behaviors
  • Objective measurement
  • Physical activity
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Reproductive Medicine


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