n South African Journal of Sports Medicine - Pedometer step counting in South Africa : tools or trinkets? : original research article

Volume 18, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1015-5163
  • E-ISSN: 2078-516X



&lt;i&gt;Objectives.&lt;/i&gt; This study addressed (i) the accuracy of measuring ambulatory signals and (ii) the susceptibility to nonambulatory signals, of the Discovery Vitality Pedometer (VT) and the Kellogg's Special K Step Counter (KL) compared with three research-grade pedometers (DW: Yamax DigiWalker SW-401, MTI: MTI Actigraph AM-7164-2.2 , NL: New Lifestyles NL 2000). &lt;br&gt;&lt;i&gt;Design.&lt;/i&gt; One hundred instruments (20 instruments/brand) were tested at five level walking speeds on a motorised treadmill (3.24, 4.02, 4.80, 5.64, 6.42 km.hr<sup>-1</sup>) and during motor vehicle travel on tarred roads (62.9 km). &lt;br&gt;&lt;i&gt;Results.&lt;/i&gt; The KL was highly variable across all speeds, while the VT tended to be variable at the lowest speed. The DW, NL and VT significantly underestimated steps below 4.80km.hr&lt;sup&gt;-1&lt;/sup&gt; (41 - 94%, p < 0.02) but accuracy improved at speeds &lt;u&gt;&gt;&lt;/u&gt; 4.80 km.hr&lt;sup&gt;-1&lt;/sup&gt; (98 - 102%). The KL displayed the highest variability (60% inter-instrument variance) followed by the VT (10% inter-instrument variance). The research-grade pedometers were the least variable (0 - 1% inter-instrument variance). At 4.80 km.hr<sup>-1</sup>, all research- grade pedometers measured within a 10% margin of error compared with the 90% of VT units and 42% of KL units. The VT was significantly more resistant to nonambulatory signals than the DW (p < 0.01). The KL was the most variable in its response to non-ambulatory signals while the NL was the most consistent. The MTI detected the most non-ambulatory signals (p < 0.05). &lt;br&gt;&lt;i&gt;Conclusions.&lt;/i&gt; The KL should not be used as a promotional pedometer. The VT achieved the minimum standards required of a promotional pedometer. Further testing is required for longevity, and performance under free-living conditions.

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