Cross-validation of cut-points in preschool children using different accelerometer placements and data axes

J Sports Sci. 2022 Feb;40(4):379-385. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2021.1994726. Epub 2022 Jan 18.


The present study cross-validated various cut-points to assess physical activity and sedentary behaviour in preschoolers, using hip- and wrist-worn accelerometers and both vertical axis and vector magnitude data. Secondly, we examined the influence of epoch length on time estimates of physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Sixty-four preschoolers (34 girls) wore two accelerometers, on their right hip and dominant wrist, during 1 hour of free play. Preschoolers' activities were observed by two trained researchers. Area under the curve (AUC) was calculated for the receiving operating characteristic (ROC) curves as a measure of precision. AUC ranges were 0.603-0.723 for sedentary behaviour, 0.472-0.545 for light physical activity and 0.503-0.661 for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), indicating poor to fair precision. Percentage of time classified as sedentary behaviour, light or MVPA according to observation and accelerometer data varied largely between cut-points, accelerometer placements and axes. The influence of epoch length on time estimates was minimal across cut-points, except for one hip-based vector magnitude cut-point. Across all accelerometer placements and data axes, no set of cut-points demonstrated adequate precision for sedentary behaviour, light physical activity and MVPA. The highly variable and omnidirectional activity pattern of preschoolers may explain the lack of adequate cut-points.

Keywords: Preschoolers; classification; physical activity; sedentary behaviour; vector magnitude; vertical axis.

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Hip
  • Humans
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Wrist