Is the SenseWear Armband accurate enough to quantify and estimate energy expenditure in healthy adults?

Ann Transl Med. 2017 Mar;5(5):97. doi: 10.21037/atm.2017.02.31.


Background: The SenseWear Armband (SWA) is a monitor that can be used to estimate energy expenditure (EE); however, it has not been validated in healthy adults. The objective of this paper was to study the validity of the SWA for quantifying EE levels.

Methods: Twenty-three healthy adults (age 40-55 years, mean: 48±3.42 years) performed different types of standardized physical activity (PA) for 10 minutes (rest, walking at 3 and 5 km·h-1, running at 7 and 9 km·h-1, and sitting/standing at a rate of 30 cycle·min-1). Participants wore the SWA on their right arm, and their EE was measured by indirect calorimetry (IC) the gold standard.

Results: There were significant differences between the SWA and IC, except in the group that ran at 9 km·h-1 (>9 METs). Bland-Altman analysis showed a BIAS of 1.56 METs (±1.83 METs) and limits of agreement (LOA) at 95% of -2.03 to 5.16 METs. There were indications of heteroscedasticity (R2 =0.03; P<0.05). Analysis of the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves showed that the SWA seems to be not sensitive enough to estimate the level of EE at highest intensities.

Conclusions: The SWA is not as precise in estimating EE as IC, but it could be a useful tool to determine levels of EE at low intensities.

Keywords: Energy expenditure (EE); accelerometry; indirect calorimetry (IC); metabolic equivalent; validation studies.