Activity trackers such as the Fitbit Charge 2 enable users and researchers to monitor physical activity in daily life, which could be beneficial for changing behaviour. However, the accuracy of the Fitbit Charge 2 in a free-living environment is largely unknown.
To investigate the agreement between Fitbit Charge 2 and ActiGraph GT3X for the estimation of steps, energy expenditure, time in sedentary behaviour, and light and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity under free-living conditions, and further examine to what extent placing the ActiGraph on the wrist as opposed to the hip would affect the findings.
41 adults (n = 10 males, n = 31 females) were asked to wear a Fitbit Charge 2 device and two ActiGraph GT3X devices (one on the hip and one on the wrist) for seven consecutive days and fill out a log of wear times. Agreement was assessed through Bland-Altman plots combined with multilevel analysis.
The Fitbit measured 1,492 steps/day more than the hip-worn ActiGraph (limits of agreement [LoA] = -2,250; 5,234), while for sedentary time, it measured 25 min/day less (LoA = -137; 87). Both Bland-Altman plots showed fixed bias. For time in light physical activity, the Fitbit measured 59 min/day more (LoA = -52;169). For time in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, the Fitbit measured 31 min/day less (LoA = -132; 71) and for activity energy expenditure it measured 408 kcal/day more than the hip-worn ActiGraph (LoA = -385; 1,200). For the two latter outputs, the plots indicated proportional bias. Similar or more pronounced discrepancies, mostly in opposite direction, appeared when comparing to the wrist-worn ActiGraph.