Free
Poster Session
Issue Date: August 2016
Published Online: August 01, 2016
Updated: January 01, 2021
Measuring Upper-Extremity Functional Movement With Accelerometry: FitBit Versus Actigraph
Author Affiliations
  • University of Central Arkansas
  • Texas Woman's University
  • University of Central Arkansas
Article Information
Hand and Upper Extremity / Neurologic Conditions / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Stroke / Assessment/Measurement
Poster Session   |   August 01, 2016
Measuring Upper-Extremity Functional Movement With Accelerometry: FitBit Versus Actigraph
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011500078. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.70S1-PO7072
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011500078. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.70S1-PO7072
Abstract

Date Presented 4/9/2016

This study explains the use of accelerometry to objectively monitor upper-extremity movement in everyday life and presents criterion data of normal participants. Comparability of Actigraph Bluetooth® Smart wGT3X-BT and FitBit® Flex allows greater access to an affordable instrument for measuring outcomes.

Primary Author and Speaker: Veronica Rowe

Additional Authors and Speakers: Marsha Neville, Elizabeth Melcher

PURPOSE: To determine the clinical utility of the Actigraph’s Bluetooth® Smart wGT3X-BT wireless activity monitor and the FitBit® Flex to measure everyday upper-extremity (UE) movement in people without disabilities.
RATIONALE: In stroke rehabilitation, evidence has suggested that increased use of arm movement promotes functional recovery (Nudo, Wise, SiFuentes, & Milliken, 1996). Objective, affordable measures for monitoring use can provide feedback to clinicians and clients on improvements and inform intervention planning. Logs and self-reports have been used to record clients’ efforts but may not be reliable due to possible biases and human error.
Accelerometry is a quantifiable measure of how much a person is actually moving his or her arm and hand in everyday functional activities (Bailey, Klaeser, & Lang, 2014). Accelerometry is a valid and reliable measure of UE activity used in stroke research that is well established (Uswatte et al., 2006). Actigraph’s activity monitor is considered the gold standard in UE accelerometry and yields detailed results needed for rigorous research.
The FitBit provides more simplistic movement data but may be sufficient for reporting outcomes in clinical settings. The FitBit contains the same mechanical systems as the Actigraph but is less expensive and more readily available. Although accelerometers have been used in research, little is understood of the utility of the various types of accelerometers for measuring arm recovery within a clinical setting.
DESIGN: An experimental design was utilized to collect accelerometry data from participants wearing the Actigraph and the FitBit at the same time. This study compares the Actigraph and FitBit for criterion validity.
PARTICIPANTS: A convenience sample of 50 graduate students without any UE disability volunteered for this study.
METHOD: Actigraph and FitBit accelerometers were both placed on each UE of participants at the distal forearms, proximal to the styloid process of the ulna, which allows both proximal (i.e., upper arm) and distal (i.e., forearm) movements to be captured for a period of time.
ANALYSIS: Statistical comparisons of steps, miles, calories burned, and active minutes between the Actigraph and FitBit were assessed.
RESULTS: Preliminary results reflect a significant correlation between the Actigraph and FitBit for persons without hemiparesis.
DISCUSSION: This study provides critical data for informing future neurorehabilitation research and practice. It explains the use of accelerometry to objectively monitor UE movement in everyday life and presents criterion data from studies of normal participants.
IMPACT STATEMENT: Comparability of the FitBit to the Actigraph allows clinicians and clients to have greater access to an affordable instrument for measuring movement outcomes. Display and demonstration of both accelerometers will be available during the presentation.
References
Bailey, R. R., Klaeser, J. W., & Lang, C. E. (2014). An accelerometry-based methodology for assessment of real-world bilateral upper extremity activity. PLoS ONE, 9. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0103135
Nudo, R. J., Wise, B. M., SiFuentes, F., & Milliken, G. W. (1996). Neural substrates for the effects of rehabilitative training on motor recovery after ischemic infarct. Science, 272, 1791–1794. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.272.5269.1791
Uswatte, G., Giuliani, C., Winstein, C., Zeringue, A., Hobbs, L., & Wolf, S. L. (2006). Validity of accelerometry for monitoring real-world arm activity in patients with subacute stroke: Evidence from the extremity constraint-induced therapy evaluation trial. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 87, 1340–1345. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2006.06.006