Activity monitors are frequently used to assess activity in many settings. But as technology advances, so do the mechanisms used to estimate activity causing a continuous need to validate newly developed monitors. The purpose of this study was to examine the step count validity of the Yamax Digiwalker SW-701 pedometer (YX), Omron HJ-720 T pedometer (OP), Polar Active accelerometer (PAC) and Actigraph gt3x+ accelerometer (AG) under controlled and free-living conditions. Participants completed five stages of treadmill walking (n = 43) and a subset of these completed a 3-day free-living wear period (n = 37). Manually counted (MC) steps provided a criterion measure for treadmill walking, whereas the comparative measure during free-living was the YX. During treadmill walking, the OP was the most accurate monitor across all speeds (±1.1% of MC steps), while the PAC underestimated steps by 6.7-16.0% per stage. During free-living, the OP and AG counted 97.5% and 98.5% of YX steps, respectively. The PAC overestimated steps by 44.0%, or 5,265 steps per day. The Omron pedometer seems to provide the most reliable and valid estimate of steps taken, as it was the best performer under lab-based conditions and provided comparable results to the YX in free-living. Future studies should consider these monitors in additional populations and settings.
Keywords: activity monitors; assessment; evaluation; measurement.