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Validation of a method for estimating energy expenditure during walking in middle-aged adults

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The aim of this study was to test the validity of a method using an inertial measurement unit for estimating activity-related energy expenditure (AEE) during walking in middle-aged adults.


Twenty healthy middle-aged participants completed different treadmill walking trials with an inertial measurement unit adhered to their lower back. Gas exchange was monitored with indirect calorimetry. Mechanical data were used to estimate AEE from an algorithm developed by Bouten et al. (Med Sci Sport Exer 26(12):1516–1523, 1994). Three methods for removing the gravitational component were proposed and tested: mean subtraction method (MSM), high-pass filter method (HPM) and free acceleration method (FAM).


The three methods did not differ significantly from the indirect calorimetry [bias = − 0.08 kcal min−1; p = 0.47 (MSM), bias = − 0.08 kcal min−1; p = 0.48 (HPM) and bias = − 0.15 kcal min−1; p = 0.23 (FAM)]. Mean root mean square errors were 0.43, 0.42 and 0.51 kcal min−1 for MSM, HPM and FAM, respectively.


This study proposed an accurate method for estimating AEE in middle-aged adults for a large range of walking intensities, from slow to brisk walking, based on Bouten’s algorithm.

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Activity-related energy expenditure


Analysis of variance


Body mass index


Confidence interval


Gravitational component of acceleration


Inertial measurement unit


Physical activity


Root mean square error


Standard deviation

O2 :

Rates of oxygen consumption

O2 :

Rate of carbon dioxide production


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This work was supported by a Regional Research Grant (grant #D2015033168) from the Réunion Region and from the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER). The authors wish to express their gratitude to Malo Yasségah for his technical assistance.

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Correspondence to Georges Dalleau.

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None of the authors have a professional relationship with companies or manufacturers that might benefit from the results of the present study.

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Communicated by Jean-René Lacour.

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Caron, N., Caderby, T., Peyrot, N. et al. Validation of a method for estimating energy expenditure during walking in middle-aged adults. Eur J Appl Physiol 118, 381–388 (2018).

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