Objective measurement of 24-hour movement behaviors in preschool children using wrist-worn and thigh-worn accelerometers

Marieke de Craemer*, Marga Decraene, Iris Willems, Feija Buysse, Ellen van Driessche, Vera Verbestel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In recent years, more attention has been paid towards the study of 24-h movement behav-iors (including physical activity (PA), sedentary behavior (SB) and sleep) in preschoolers instead of studying these behaviors in isolation. This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility of using wrist-vs. thigh-worn accelerometers and to report accelerometer-derived metrics of 24-h movement behav-iors in preschoolers. A convenience sample of 16 preschoolers (50.0% boys, 4.35 years) and one of their parents were recruited for this study. Preschoolers had to wear the ActivPAL accelerometer (attached to the upper thigh) and Axivity accelerometer (using a wrist band) simultaneously for 7 consecutive days and for 24 h a day. Parents completed an acceptability survey. In total, 16 preschoolers (100.0%) had a minimum of 6 days of valid wrist-worn data, while only 10 preschoolers (62.5%) had a minimum of 6 days of valid thigh-worn data (p = 0.002). When looking at the accept-ability, 81.3% of parents indicated that it was easy for their child to wear the Axivity for 7 consecutive days, and 93.8% of parents indicated so for the ActivPAL (p = 0.88). However, some parents stated that the wristband of the Axivity accelerometer was big, which might have affected data col-lection. Significant differences were found for the measurement of total volume of PA, SB and sleep across 24 h. Total PA was 464.44 min/day (±64.00) with the ActivPAL compared with 354.94 min/day (±57.46) with the Axivity (p < 0.001). The volume of SB was 290.94 min/day (±55.05) with the Ac-tivPAL compared with 440.50 min/day (±50.01) with the Axivity (p < 0.001). The total volume of sleep was also significantly different between both devices (p = 0.001; ActivPAL: 684.63 min/day ± 51.96; Axivity: 645.69 min/day ± 46.78). Overall, parents perceived both devices to be feasible to use for preschoolers. However, future studies are required to validate both devices for the measurement of preschoolers’ 24-h movement behaviors since significant differences in the classification of PA, SB and sleep were found in this small sample.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9482
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021
Externally publishedYes

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