Comparison of steps and energy expenditure assessment in adults of Fitbit Tracker and Ultra to the Actical and indirect calorimetry

J Med Eng Technol. 2013 Oct;37(7):456-62. doi: 10.3109/03091902.2013.831135. Epub 2013 Sep 5.


Epidemic levels of inactivity are associated with chronic diseases and rising healthcare costs. To address this, accelerometers have been used to track levels of activity. The Fitbit and Fitbit Ultra are some of the newest commercially available accelerometers. The purpose of this study was to determine the reliability and validity of the Fitbit and Fitbit Ultra. Twenty-three subjects were fitted with two Fitbit and Fitbit Ultra accelerometers, two industry-standard accelerometers and an indirect calorimetry device. Subjects participated in 6-min bouts of treadmill walking, jogging and stair stepping. Results indicate the Fitbit and Fitbit Ultra are reliable and valid for activity monitoring (step counts) and determining energy expenditure while walking and jogging without an incline. The Fitbit and standard accelerometers under-estimated energy expenditure compared to indirect calorimetry for inclined activities. These data suggest the Fitbit and Fitbit Ultra are reliable and valid for monitoring over-ground energy expenditure.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Calorimetry, Indirect*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / instrumentation*
  • Young Adult