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Comparison of older and newer generations of ActiGraph accelerometers with the normal filter and the low frequency extension

Kelli L Cain12*, Terry L Conway12, Marc A Adams3, Lisa E Husak12 and James F Sallis12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA

2 Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University California, San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA

3 School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ, USA

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2013, 10:51  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-10-51

Published: 25 April 2013



Many studies used the older ActiGraph (7164) for physical activity measurement, but this model has been replaced with newer ones (e.g., GT3X+). The assumption that new generation models are more accurate has been questioned, especially for measuring lower intensity levels. The low-frequency extension (LFE) increases the low-intensity sensitivity of newer models, but its comparability with older models is unknown. This study compared step counts and physical activity collected with the 7164 and GT3X + using the Normal Filter and the LFE (GT3X+N and GT3X+LFE, respectively).


Twenty-five adults wore 2 accelerometer models simultaneously for 3Âdays and were instructed to engage in typical behaviors. Average daily step counts and minutes per day in nonwear, sedentary, light, moderate, and vigorous activity were calculated. Repeated measures ANOVAs with post-hoc pairwise comparisons were used to compare mean values. Means for the GT3X+N and 7164 were significantly different in 4 of the 6 categories (p < .05). The GT3X+N showed 2041 fewer steps per day and more sedentary, less light, and less moderate than the 7164 (+25.6, -31.2, -2.9 mins/day, respectively). The GT3X+LFE showed non-significant differences in 5 of 6 categories but recorded significantly more steps (+3597 steps/day; p < .001) than the 7164.


Studies using the newer ActiGraphs should employ the LFE for greater sensitivity to lower intensity activity and more comparable activity results with studies using the older models. Newer generation ActiGraphs do not produce comparable step counts to the older generation devices with the Normal filter or the LFE.

Data processing; Physical activity; Sedentary; Methods; Step counts; Measurement; GT3X