Accuracy of armband monitors for measuring daily energy expenditure in healthy adults

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Nov;42(11):2134-40. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181e0b3ff.


Introduction: There is a need to develop accurate devices for measuring daily energy expenditure under free-living conditions, particularly given our current obesity epidemic.

Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the validity of energy expenditure estimates from two portable armband devices, the SenseWear Pro3 Armband (SWA) monitor and the SenseWear Mini Armband (Mini) monitor, under free-living conditions.

Methods: Participants in the study (30 healthy adults aged 24-60 yr) wore both monitors for 14 consecutive days, including while sleeping. Criterion values for total energy expenditure (TEE) were determined using doubly labeled water (DLW), the established criterion standard method for free-living energy expenditure assessment.

Results: The average TEE estimates were within 112 kcal·d−¹ for the SWA and within 22 kcal·d−¹ for the Mini, but the absolute error rates (computed as the average absolute value of the individual errors) were similar for the two monitors (SWA = 8.1% ± 6.8%, Mini = 8.3% ± 6.5%). Using intraclass correlation (ICC) analysis, significant agreements were found between the SWA and DLW estimates of energy expenditure (ICC = 0.80, 95% CI = 0.89-0.70) and between the Mini and DLW (ICC = 0.85, 95% CI = 0.92-0.76). Graphical plots of the DLW TEE values against the difference between DLW and monitor estimates of TEE showed that the agreement was consistent across a range of TEE values.

Conclusions: The SenseWear Pro3 and the SenseWear Mini armbands show promise for accurately measuring daily energy expenditure under free-living conditions. However, more work is needed to improve the ability of these monitors to accurately measure energy expenditure at higher levels of expenditure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / instrumentation*
  • Young Adult