Branched equation modeling of simultaneous accelerometry and heart rate monitoring improves estimate of directly measured physical activity energy expenditure

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2004 Jan;96(1):343-51. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00703.2003. Epub 2003 Sep 12.


The combination of heart rate (HR) monitoring and movement registration may improve measurement precision of physical activity energy expenditure (PAEE). Previous attempts have used either regression methods, which do not take full advantage of synchronized data, or have not used movement data quantitatively. The objective of the study was to assess the precision of branched model estimates of PAEE by utilizing either individual calibration (IC) of HR and accelerometry or corresponding mean group calibration (GC) equations. In 12 men (20.6-25.2 kg/m2), IC and GC equations for physical activity intensity (PAI) were derived during treadmill walking and running for both HR (Polar) and hipacceleration [Computer Science and Applications (CSA)]. HR and CSA were recorded minute by minute during 22 h of whole body calorimetry and converted into PAI in four different weightings (P1-4) of the HR vs. the CSA (1-P1-4) relationships: if CSA > x, we used the P1 weighting if HR > y, otherwise P2. Similarly, if CSA < or = x, we used P3 if HR > z, otherwise P4. PAEE was calculated for a 12.5-h nonsleeping period as the time integral of PAI. A priori, we assumed P1 = 1, P2 = P3 = 0.5, P4 = 0, x = 5 counts/min, y = walking/running transition HR, and z = flex HR. These parameters were also estimated post hoc. Means +/- SD estimation errors of a priori models were -4.4 +/- 29 and 3.5 +/- 20% for IC and GC, respectively. Corresponding post hoc model errors were -1.5 +/- 13 and 0.1 +/- 9.8%, respectively. All branched models had lower errors (P < or = 0.035) than single-measure estimates of CSA (less than or equal to -45%) and HR (> or =39%), as well as their nonbranched combination (> or =25.7%). In conclusion, combining HR and CSA by branched modeling improves estimates of PAEE. IC may be less crucial with this modeling technique.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Calibration
  • Calorimetry / instrumentation*
  • Calorimetry / methods*
  • Calorimetry / standards
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Biological*
  • Motor Activity
  • Movement
  • Reproducibility of Results