Evaluation of a multisensor armband in estimating energy expenditure in obese individuals

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2006 Dec;14(12):2217-23. doi: 10.1038/oby.2006.260.


Objective: To examine the reliability and validity of the SenseWear Pro 2 Armband (SWA; Body Media, Pittsburgh, PA) during rest and exercise compared with indirect calorimetry (IC) in obese individuals.

Research methods and procedures: Energy expenditure was assessed during rest with the SWA and IC in 142 obese adults (37 men and 105 women, BMI = 42.3 +/- 7.0) and in 25 lean and overweight adults (BMI = 25.3 +/- 3.2) who were used as a comparison group. Twenty-nine of the obese adults also participated in three separate short exercise sessions including cycle ergometry, stair stepping, and treadmill walking.

Results: The repeatability of SWA estimates in obese subjects was high (r = 0.88, p < 0.001). The SWA generally underestimated the resting energy expenditure (REE) (1811 +/- 346 vs. 1880 +/- 382 kcal/d) and highly overestimated the energy expenditure during the exercise sessions in obese individuals. REE estimations by SWA were significantly correlated with fat-free mass (r = 0.88, p < 0.001). Bland-Altman plots based statistical analysis for the estimated REE, and measured IC showed a low agreement (Total Error > 20% but Systematic Error < 5%) between the two methods in obese subjects, although they showed a high correlation and a very good agreement in lean and overweight patients.

Discussion: The SWA is an easy to handle, practical, new portable device for measuring energy expenditure. The accuracy of the SWA appeared to be poor in the obese subjects we examined, especially those with high REE both in rest and exercise. We believe that it is necessary to incorporate new, obesity-specific algorithms in the relative software.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Basal Metabolism
  • Body Mass Index
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory / instrumentation*
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory / methods*
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity