Methods to Estimate Energy Expenditure, Physical Activity, and Sedentary Time in Pregnant Women: A Validation Study Using Doubly Labeled Water

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Background: Activity trackers and the Pregnancy Physical Activity Questionnaire (PPAQ) measures physical activity (PA) and sedentary time (SED). However, none of these tools have been validated against a criterion method in pregnancy. We aimed to compare a consumer activity tracker and the Danish version of PPAQ (PPAQ-DK) and to validate them using the doubly labeled water technique (DLW) as criterion method. Methods: A total of 220 healthy pregnant women participated. Total energy expenditure (TEE), PA energy expenditure (PAEE), and PA level were determined at gestational Weeks 28–29 using DLW and a Garmin Vivosport (Garmin, Olathe, KS) activity tracker. In addition, PAEE, moderate-to-vigorous intensity PA, and SED were determined using the activity tracker and PPAQ-DK during all three trimesters. Results: TEE from the activity tracker and DLW correlated (r =.63; p <.001), but the activity tracker overestimated TEE (503 kcal/day). Also, the activity tracker overestimated PAEE (303 kcal/day) and PA level compared with DLW. Likewise, PPAQ-DK overestimated PAEE (1,513 kcal/day) compared with DLW. Compared to PPAQ-DK, the activity tracker reported lower values of PAEE and moderate-to-vigorous intensity PA and higher values of SED during all three trimesters. Conclusions: When compared to DLW, we found better agreement of PAEE estimates from the activity tracker than from PPAQ-DK. TEE from the tracker and DLW correlated moderately well, but this was not the case for PAEE or PA level. The activity tracker measured lower PA and higher SED than PPAQ-DK throughout pregnancy. The consumer activity tracker performed better than the questionnaire, but both significantly overestimated PA compared to DLW.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)88-98
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Human Kinetics, Inc.

    Research areas

  • consumer activity tracker, pregnancy physical activity questionnaire

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