Physical activity monitoring in obese people in the real life environment

Maria Grazia Benedetti, Annalisa Di Gioia, Linda Conti, Lisa Berti, Linda Degli Esposti, Giulietta Tarrini, Nazario Melchionda, Sandro Giannini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Obesity is a major problem especially in western countries and several studies underline the importance of physical activity to enhance diet. Currently there is increasing interest in instruments for monitoring daily physical activity. The purpose of this pilot study was to appraise the qualitative and quantitative differences in physical activities and gait analysis parameters in control and obese subjects by means of an innovative tool for the monitoring of physical activity. Methods. Twenty-six obese patients, 16 women and 10 men, aged 22 to 69 years with Body Mass Index (BMI) between 30 and 51.4 kg/m2, were compared with 15 control subjects, 4 men and 11 women, aged 24 to 69 with BMI between 18 and 25 kg/m2 during daily physical activities. The IDEEA device (Minisun, Fresno, CA), based on a wearable system of biaxial accelerometers and able to continuously record the physical activities and energy expenditure of a subject in time was used. Time spent in different physical activities such as standing, sitting, walking, lying, reclining, stepping, energy expenditure and gait parameters (velocity, stance duration, etc) were measured during a 24-hours period. Results. A trend toward a reduced number of steps was present, associated to reduced speed, reduced cadence and reduced rate of single and double limb support (SLS/DLS). Moreover, obese people spent significant less time stepping, less time lying and more time in a sitting or reclined position during the night. The energy expenditure during a 24-hours period was higher in the obese compared to controls. Conclusions. The study provided objective parameters to differentiate the daily motor activity of obese subjects with respect to controls, even a larger population is required to confirm these findings. The device used can be of support in programming educational activities for life style modification in obese people as well as for monitoring the results of various kinds of intervention in these patients concerning weight and physical performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number47
JournalJournal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Health Informatics


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