King's College London

Research portal

Validity of Fitbit activity monitoring for adults with progressive muscle diseases

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Sarah F. Roberts-Lewis, Claire M. White, Mark Ashworth, Michael R. Rose

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Early online date31 Oct 2021
Accepted/In press2021
E-pub ahead of print31 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: Acceptability of the Fitbit was supported by largely positive feedback from participants (see ). Concerns raised, such as technophobia and dexterity challenges were easily resolved by additional technical support and new equipment for straps and charging. Two minor adverse events were reported; minor skin irritation and bruising from a tight strap. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

King's Authors


Purpose: Measuring physical activity informs activity recommendations in clinical practice and provides outcomes in clinical trials that are meaningful to patients. Activity assessment in muscle disease is challenging and there is insufficient evidence to support any single activity measure; however, multi-modal activity measurement might have potential. Materials and methods: This two-part study included 20 and 95 adults with progressive muscle diseases with mobility ranging from independent to assisted, including wheelchair users. Their activity was measured using a multi-sensor Fitbit activity monitor, for which criterion validity and acceptability were tested in study 1 and validity, reliability, and responsiveness were tested in the longitudinal, home-based study 2. Results: Study 1: Fitbit was acceptable and had strong criterion validity (rho/kappa ≥0.90), although up to 15% measurement error. Study 2: Fitbit had satisfactory concurrent and construct validity, reliability, and responsiveness. However, Fitbit active minutes registered 75 min more activity per week than gold standard moderate and vigorous physical activity (MVPA) time. Conclusions: Fitbit had satisfactory measurement properties for monitoring physical activity in adults with progressive muscle diseases. However, Fitbit should not be considered an exact step counter, heart rate monitor or calorimeter and Fitbit active minutes are not synonymous with MVPA time.Implications for rehabilitation People with progressive muscle diseases mobilise independently, with walking aids and with wheelchairs; physical activity measurement can be challenging in this population. Multisensor smart activity monitoring by Fitbit had satisfactory validity, reliability, responsiveness, and acceptability for the estimation of physical activity in adults with progressive muscle diseases. Fitbit active minutes are not synonymous with moderate and vigorous physical activity (MVPA) time measured using a research grade accelerometer.

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454