Bone and Joint Institute

Inter-instrument reliability and agreement of fitbit charge measurements of heart rate and activity at rest, during the modified Canadian aerobic fitness test, and in recovery

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Physiotherapy Canada





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© 2019, University of Toronto Press Inc.. All rights reserved. Purpose: We determined the inter-instrument reliability and agreement parameters of the Fitbit Charge Heart Rate (Charge HR) device during three phases: rest, modified Canadian Aerobic Fitness Test (mCAFT), and recovery. Method: We recruited 60 participants for this cross-sectional measurement study using convenience and snowball sampling approaches. The performance of the Charge HR was assessed throughout the rest, mCAFT, and recovery phases. To establish inter-instrument reliability, the Charge HR variables – heart rate, steps taken, and energy expenditures – were compared with those for two other devices: the Zephyr BioHarness (ZB) for heart rate and the Fitbit One for steps taken and energy expenditure. Measurements were recorded every 30 seconds. Results: At rest, the inter-instrument intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC) (standard error of measurement [SEM]) for the Charge HR versus the ZB was > 0.97 (range, min–max, 1.02–1.32). During the mCAFT and in recovery, the ICCs (SEMs) for the Charge HR and the ZB were > 0.89 (range, min–max, 1.30–3.98) and > 0.68 (range, min–max, 3.58–8.35), respectively. During the mCAFT only, the number of steps taken and the energy expenditure recorded by the Charge HR and the Fitbit One displayed ICCs (SEMs) of 0.97 (83.00) and 0.77 (14.70), respectively. The average agreement differences in heart rate in this pair-wise device comparison indicated mean differences of –0.20, 4.00, and 1.00 beats per minute at rest, during the mCAFT, and in recovery, respectively. Conclusions: The Charge HR heart rate variable demonstrated excellent inter-instrument reliability compared with the ZB and provided good levels of agreement. The steps taken and energy expenditure variables displayed excellent reliability measures between Charge HR and Fitbit One. Our findings may be used to capture field-based wireless measures of heart rate in various phases and provide information about possibly using the Charge HR and ZB devices interchangeably.


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