Validity of 10 electronic pedometers for measuring steps, distance, and energy cost

Scott E Crouter, Patrick L Schneider, Murat Karabulut, David R Bassett
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2003, 35 (8): 1455-60

PURPOSE: This study examined the effects of walking speed on the accuracy and reliability of 10 pedometers: Yamasa Skeletone (SK), Sportline 330 (SL330) and 345 (SL345), Omron (OM), Yamax Digiwalker SW-701 (DW), Kenz Lifecorder (KZ), New Lifestyles 2000 (NL), Oregon Scientific (OR), Freestyle Pacer Pro (FR), and Walk4Life LS 2525 (WL).

METHODS: Ten subjects (33 +/- 12 yr) walked on a treadmill at various speeds (54, 67, 80, 94, and 107 m x min-1) for 5-min stages. Simultaneously, an investigator determined steps by a hand counter and energy expenditure (kcal) by indirect calorimetry. Each brand was measured on the right and left sides.

RESULTS: Correlation coefficients between right and left sides exceeded 0.81 for all pedometers except OR (0.76) and SL345 (0.57). Most pedometers underestimated steps at 54 m x min-1, but accuracy for step counting improved at faster speeds. At 80 m x min-1 and above, six models (SK, OM, DW, KZ, NL, and WL) gave mean values that were within +/- 1% of actual steps. Six pedometers displayed the distance traveled. Most of them estimated mean distance to within +/- 10% at 80 m x min-1 but overestimated distance at slower speeds and underestimated distance at faster speeds. Eight pedometers displayed kilocalories, but except for KZ and NL, it is unclear whether this should reflect net or gross kilocalories. If one assumes they display net kilocalories, the general trend was an overestimation of kilocalories at every speed. If one assumes they display gross kilocalorie, then seven of the eight pedometers were accurate to within +/-30% at all speeds.

CONCLUSION: In general, pedometers are most accurate for assessing steps, less accurate for assessing distance, and even less accurate for assessing kilocalories.

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