The measurement of sedentary patterns and behaviors using the activPAL™ professional physical activity monitor

Keiran P. Dowd, Deirdre M. Harrington, Alan K. Bourke, John Nelson, Alan E. Donnelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Epidemiological studies have associated the negative effects of sedentary time and sedentary patterns on health indices. However, these studies have used methodologies that do not directly measure the sedentary state. Recent technological developments in the area of motion sensors have incorporated inclinometers, which can measure the inclination of the body directly, without relying on self-report or count thresholds. This paper aims to provide a detailed description of methodologies used to examine a range of relevant variables, including sedentary levels and patterns from an inclinometer-based motion sensor. The activPAL Professional physical activity logger provides an output which can be interpreted and used without the need for further processing and additional variables were derived using a custom designed MATLAB®computer program. The methodologies described have been implemented on a sample of 44 adolescent females, and the results of a range of daily physical activity and sedentary variables are described and presented. The results provide a range of objectively measured and objectively processed variables, including total time spent sitting/lying, standing and stepping, number and duration of daily sedentary bouts and both bed hours and non-bed hours, which may be of interest when making association between physical activity, sedentary behaviors and health indices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1887-1899
Number of pages13
JournalPhysiol. Meas.
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2012


  • accelerometer
  • activPAL
  • inclinometer
  • sedentary behavior
  • adolescent
  • ambulatory monitoring
  • article
  • behavior
  • body posture
  • female
  • human
  • methodology
  • motor activity
  • physiology
  • school
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • sleep
  • statistics
  • time
  • wakefulness
  • walking


Dive into the research topics of 'The measurement of sedentary patterns and behaviors using the activPAL™ professional physical activity monitor'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this