A variety of wearable monitors are available for objectively assessing physical activity but there is a lack of established values for the activity intensity of MotionWatch8 (MW8) and a similar lack of studies on comparability across devices. Our study aimed to establish activity intensity cutpoints for the MW8 accelerometer in children, which are necessary to determine whether they are meeting physical activity guidelines.
Children (n = 39, ages 9–13 years) were asked to wear two different accelerometers (MW8 and ActiGraph) simultaneously on the same dominant wrist as they performed different activities designed to mimic activities of variable intensity that a child might perform in a free-living environment. Linear regression and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were performed to assess sensitivity and specificity of the identified MW8 intensity cutpoints compared to established ActiGraph cutpoints.
Mean values for each activity were positively correlated using the MW8 and ActiGraph monitors (r = 0.85, p<0.001). The optimal cutpoints for differentiating sedentary from light physical activity, light from moderate, and moderate from vigorous activity were ≤32 counts, ≥ 371.5 counts, and ≥ 859.5 counts per 30 seconds, respectively.
Our study demonstrated the ability of MW8 to discriminate different intensity activities and provided the first cutoff values for researchers using the MW8 to measure physical activity patterns among children.