J Nutr Health.  2017 Dec;50(6):552-564. 10.4163/jnh.2017.50.6.552.

Energy expenditure of physical activity in Korean adults and assessment of accelerometer accuracy by gender

  • 1Department of Food and Nutrition, Gangneung-Wonju National University, Gangneung 25457, Korea. ekkim@gwnu.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Physical Education, Korea University, Seoul 02841, Korea.


The purpose of this study was to measure energy expenditure (EE) the metabolic equivalents (METs) of 13 common physical activities by using a portable telemetry gas exchange system (K4b2) and to assess the accuracy of the accelerometer (Actigraph GT3X+) by gender in Korean adults.
A total of 109 adults (54 males, 55 females) with normal BMI (body mass index) participated in this study. EE and METs of 13 selected activities were simultaneously measured by the K4b2 portable indirect calorimeter and predicted by the GT3X+ Actigraph accelerometer. The accuracy of the accelerometer was assessed by comparing the predicted with the measured EE and METs.
EE (kcal/kg/hr) and METs of treadmill walking (3.2 km/h, 4.8 km/h and 5.6 km/h) and running (6.4 km/h) were significantly higher in female than in male participants (p < 0.05). On the other hand, the accelerometer significantly underestimated the EE and METs for all activities except descending stairs, moderate walking, and fast walking in males as well as descending stairs in females. Low intensity activities had the highest rate of accurate classifications (88.3% in males and 91.3% females), whereas vigorous intensity activities had the lowest rate of accurate classifications (43.6% in males and 27.7% in females). Across all activities, the rate of accurate classification was significantly higher in males than in females (75.2% and 58.3% respectively, p < 0.01). Error between the accelerometer and K4b2 was smaller in males than in females, and EE and METs were more accurately estimated during treadmill activities than other activities in both males and females.
The accelerometer underestimated EE and METs across various activities in Korean adults. In addition, there appears to be a gender difference in the rate of accurate accelerometer classification of activities according to intensity. Our results indicate the need to develop new accelerometer equations for this population, and gender differences should be considered.


estimated energy requirements; physical activity; physical intensity; indirect calorimetry; accelerometer

MeSH Terms

Calorimetry, Indirect
Energy Metabolism*
Metabolic Equivalent
Motor Activity*


  • Fig 1. Agreement rate of physical activity intensity classifications between K4b2 and accelerometer measurements in male and female. Activity intensity classification was described using agreement rate of physical activity intensity classification and Kappa statistics was used to describe the level of agreement rate between K4b2 and accelerometer.



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