Hip and wrist-worn accelerometer data analysis for toddler activities

Soyang Kwon*, Patricia Zavos, Katherine Nickele, Albert Sugianto, Mark V. Albert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Although accelerometry data are widely utilized to estimate physical activity and sedentary behavior among children age 3 years or older, for toddlers age 1 and 2 year(s), accelerometry data recorded during such behaviors have been far less examined. In particular, toddler’s unique behaviors, such as riding in a stroller or being carried by an adult, have not yet been examined. The objective of this study was to describe accelerometry signal outputs recorded during participation in nine types of behaviors (i.e., running, walking, climbing up/down, crawling, riding a ride-on toy, standing, sitting, riding in a stroller/wagon, and being carried by an adult) among toddlers. Twenty-four toddlers aged 13 to 35 months (50% girls) performed various prescribed behaviors during free play in a commercial indoor playroom while wearing ActiGraph wGT3X-BT accelerometers on a hip and a wrist. Participants’ performances were video-recorded. Based on the video data, accelerometer data were annotated with behavior labels to examine accelerometry signal outputs while performing the nine types of behaviors. Accelerometer data collected during 664 behavior assessments from the 21 participants were used for analysis. Hip vertical axis counts for walking were low (median = 49 counts/5 s). They were significantly lower than those recorded while a toddler was “carried” by an adult (median = 144 counts/5 s; p < 0.01). While standing, sitting, and riding in a stroller, very low hip vertical axis counts were registered (median ≤ 5 counts/5 s). Although wrist vertical axis and vector magnitude counts for “carried” were not higher than those for walking, they were higher than the cut-points for sedentary behaviors. Using various accelerometry signal features, machine learning techniques showed 89% accuracy to differentiate the “carried” behavior from ambulatory movements such as running, walking, crawling, and climbing. In conclusion, hip vertical axis counts alone may be unable to capture walking as physical activity and “carried” as sedentary behavior among toddlers. Machine learning techniques that utilize additional accelerometry signal features could help to recognize behavior types, especially to differentiate being “carried” from ambulatory movements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2598
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2 2019


  • Activity classifier
  • Activity recognition
  • Machine learning
  • Physical activity
  • Sedentary behavior
  • Young children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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