Advanced analytical methods to assess physical activity behaviour using accelerometer raw time series data: a protocol for a scoping review.
- Competence Center for Methodology and Statistics
BACKGROUND: Physical activity (PA) is a complex multidimensional human behaviour. Currently, there is no standardised approach for measuring PA using wearable accelerometers in health research. The total volume of PA is an important variable because it includes the frequency, intensity and duration of activity bouts, but it reduces them down to a single summary variable. Therefore, analytical approaches using accelerometer raw time series data taking into account the way PA are accumulated over time may provide more clinically relevant features of physical behaviour. Advances on these fields are highly needed in the context of the rapid development of digital health studies using connected trackers and smartwatches. The objective of this review will be to map advanced analytical approaches and their multidimensional summary variables used to provide a comprehensive picture of PA behaviour. METHODS: This scoping review will be guided by the Arksey and O'Malley methodological framework. A search for relevant publications will be undertaken in MEDLINE (PubMed), Embase and Web of Science databases. The selection of articles will be limited to studies published in English from January 2010 onwards. Studies including analytical methods that go beyond total PA volume, average daily acceleration and the conventional cut-point approaches, involving tri-axial accelerometer data will be included. Two reviewers will independently screen all citations, full-text articles and extract data. The data will be collated, stored and charted to provide a descriptive summary of the analytical methods and outputs, their strengths and limitations and their association with different health outcomes. DISCUSSION: This protocol describes a systematic method to identify, map and synthesise advanced analytical approaches and their multidimensional summary variables used to investigate PA behaviour and identify potentially clinically relevant features. The results of this review will be useful to guide future research related to analysing PA patterns, investigate their association with health conditions and suggest appropriate recommendations for changes in PA behaviour. The results may be of interest to sports scientists, clinical researchers, epidemiologists and smartphone application developers in the field of PA assessment. SCOPING REVIEW REGISTRATION: This protocol has been registered with the Open Science Framework (OSF): https://osf.io/yxgmb .