Background: Physical activity is important in health and weight management. Several cell phone platforms integrate an accelerometer onto the motherboard. Here we tested the validity of the cell phone accelerometer to assess physical activity in a controlled laboratory setting.
Methods: 31 subjects wore the cell phone on their waist along with the validated Physical Activity Monitoring System (PAMS) with different body postures and during graded walking. Energy expenditure was measured using indirect calorimetry. 11 subjects also wore the iPhone at different locations such as arm, hand, pant pocket, etc.
Results: The cell phone accelerometer was accurate and precise compared to the PAMS, with an intra-class correlation coefficient (r2> 0.98). The cell phone accelerometer showed excellent sequential increases with increased in walking velocity and energy expenditure (r2>0.9).
Conclusion: An accelerometer embedded into a cell phone was accurate and reliable in measuring and quantifying physical activity in the laboratory setting. Data from free-living users shows promise for deployment of a comprehensive integrated physical activity promoting and weight loss platform using such mobile technologies.
Keywords: Energy expenditure; Obesity; Physical activity; Weight loss.