Physical activity and sedentary behaviour are difficult to assess in overweight and obese adults. However, the use of open-source, raw accelerometer data analysis could overcome this. This study compared raw accelerometer and questionnaire-assessed moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), walking and sedentary behaviour in normal, overweight and obese adults, and determined the effect of using different methods to categorise overweight and obesity, namely body mass index (BMI), bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR).
One hundred twenty adults, aged 24–60 years, wore a raw, tri-axial accelerometer (Actigraph GT3X+), for 3 days and completed a physical activity questionnaire (IPAQ-S). We used open-source accelerometer analyses to estimate MVPA, walking and sedentary behaviour from a single raw accelerometer signal. Accelerometer and questionnaire-assessed measures were compared in normal, overweight and obese adults categorised using BMI, BIA and WHR.
Relationships between accelerometer and questionnaire-assessed MVPA (Rs = 0.30 to 0.48) and walking (Rs = 0.43 to 0.58) were stronger in normal and overweight groups whilst sedentary behaviour were modest (Rs = 0.22 to 0.38) in normal, overweight and obese groups. The use of WHR resulted in stronger agreement between the questionnaire and accelerometer than BMI and BIA. Finally, accelerometer data showed stronger associations with BMI, BIA and WHR (Rs = 0.40 to 0.77) than questionnaire data (Rs = 0.24 to 0.37).
Open-source, raw accelerometer data analysis can be used to estimate MVPA, walking and sedentary behaviour from a single acceleration signal in normal, overweight and obese adults. Our data supports the use of WHR to categorise overweight and obese adults. This evidence helps researchers obtain more accurate measures of physical activity and sedentary behaviour in overweight and obese populations.