Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-10-2018

Identifier

PMCID: PMC6305876 DOI: 10.2196/10338

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Wrist-worn activity monitors are often used to monitor heart rate (HR) and energy expenditure (EE) in a variety of settings including more recently in medical applications. The use of real-time physiological signals to inform medical systems including drug delivery systems and decision support systems will depend on the accuracy of the signals being measured, including accuracy of HR and EE. Prior studies assessed accuracy of wearables only during steady-state aerobic exercise.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to validate the accuracy of both HR and EE for 2 common wrist-worn devices during a variety of dynamic activities that represent various physical activities associated with daily living including structured exercise.

METHODS: We assessed the accuracy of both HR and EE for two common wrist-worn devices (Fitbit Charge 2 and Garmin vívosmart HR+) during dynamic activities. Over a 2-day period, 20 healthy adults (age: mean 27.5 [SD 6.0] years; body mass index: mean 22.5 [SD 2.3] kg/m2; 11 females) performed a maximal oxygen uptake test, free-weight resistance circuit, interval training session, and activities of daily living. Validity was assessed using an HR chest strap (Polar) and portable indirect calorimetry (Cosmed). Accuracy of the commercial wearables versus research-grade standards was determined using Bland-Altman analysis, correlational analysis, and error bias.

RESULTS: Fitbit and Garmin were reasonably accurate at measuring HR but with an overall negative bias. There was more error observed during high-intensity activities when there was a lack of repetitive wrist motion and when the exercise mode indicator was not used. The Garmin estimated HR with a mean relative error (RE, %) of -3.3% (SD 16.7), whereas Fitbit estimated HR with an RE of -4.7% (SD 19.6) across all activities. The highest error was observed during high-intensity intervals on bike (Fitbit: -11.4% [SD 35.7]; Garmin: -14.3% [SD 20.5]) and lowest error during high-intensity intervals on treadmill (Fitbit: -1.7% [SD 11.5]; Garmin: -0.5% [SD 9.4]). Fitbit and Garmin EE estimates differed significantly, with Garmin having less negative bias (Fitbit: -19.3% [SD 28.9], Garmin: -1.6% [SD 30.6], P<.001) across all activities, and with both correlating poorly with indirect calorimetry measures.

CONCLUSIONS: Two common wrist-worn devices (Fitbit Charge 2 and Garmin vívosmart HR+) show good HR accuracy, with a small negative bias, and reasonable EE estimates during low to moderate-intensity exercise and during a variety of common daily activities and exercise. Accuracy was compromised markedly when the activity indicator was not used on the watch or when activities involving less wrist motion such as cycle ergometry were done.

Journal Title

JMIR Mhealth Uhealth

Volume

6

Issue

12

First Page

10338

Last Page

10338

MeSH Keywords

Exercise/instrumentation; Evaluation Study [Publication Type]; Heart Rate Determination; Energy Metabolism/instrumentation

Keywords

artificial pancreas; energy metabolism; fitness trackers; heart rate; high-intensity interval training

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