Developing Novel Machine Learning Algorithms to Improve Sedentary Assessment for Youth Health Enhancement

IEEE Int Conf Healthc Inform. 2016 Oct;2016:375-379. doi: 10.1109/ICHI.2016.67. Epub 2016 Dec 8.


Sedentary behavior of youth is an important determinant of health. However, better measures are needed to improve understanding of this relationship and the mechanisms at play, as well as to evaluate health promotion interventions. Wearable accelerometers are considered as the standard for assessing physical activity in research, but do not perform well for assessing posture (i.e., sitting vs. standing), a critical component of sedentary behavior. The machine learning algorithms that we propose for assessing sedentary behavior will allow us to re-examine existing accelerometer data to better understand the association between sedentary time and health in various populations. We collected two datasets, a laboratory-controlled dataset and a free-living dataset. We trained machine learning classifiers separately on each dataset and compared performance across datasets. The classifiers predict five postures: sit, stand, sit-stand, stand-sit, and stand\walk. We compared a manually constructed Hidden Markov model (HMM) with an automated HMM from existing software. The manually constructed HMM gave more F1-Macro score on both datasets.