Sport Sciences for Health

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 463–470 | Cite as

Wearable multisensor and total energy expenditure estimation in young, adult and institutionalized elderly individuals: validation and practical recommendation

  • Susanna RampichiniEmail author
  • A. Fantauzzi
  • E. Cè
  • S. Longo
  • E. Limonta
  • A. V. Bisconti
  • F. Esposito
  • M. Venturelli
Original Article



Older institutionalized individuals with reduced residual abilities are going to growth in number in the next years. Monitoring the daily energy expenditure may allow a correct dietary intake and an effective physical activity program, thus improving their life quality. Wearable multisensors (WMS) have been developed to estimate energy expenditure (EE), but, if not calibrated, their accuracy may become questionable. This study was aimed at evaluating WMS accuracy in EE estimation in institutionalized elderly people where individual calibration is difficult to perform.


Twenty-three participants (age 48 ± 27 years; body mass 66.6 ± 12.7 kg; stature 1.69 ± 0.11 m; mean ± SD) were divided in young (YNG, <30 years; n = 9), adult (AD, 30–60 years, n = 7), and institutionalized elderly (ELD, >60 years; n = 7) individuals. EE at two different exercise intensities during cycling with the upper (UA) or lower limbs (LL) and walking was measured by indirect calorimetry (IC) and estimated by WMS.


Estimated EE was always significantly lower than in IC in YNG and AD (P < 0.05). WMS underestimated EE in all conditions and the error increased with physical activity intensity. In YNG and ELD the correlation coefficient between measured and estimated EE improved during walking (R = 0.61 and R = 0.34 in YNG and ELD, respectively). In AD the best correlation occurred during LL (R = 0.78).


Without individual calibration, WMS underestimated EE measured by IC during all physical activities, with the lower correlation coefficient in institutionalized individuals. An individual calibration of WMS seems to be mandatory to obtain accurate estimations of EE, especially in institutionalized elderly people.


Accelerometer Daily metabolic expenditure Older people Metabolism Nurse-house 



Authors wish to acknowledge all the participant for their courtesy and collaboration. A special thank is headed to Dr. Ettore Mutti of Mons. Mazzali Foundation, and to Pietro Maio and Arianna Ongaro for their precious contribution to data collection and analysis.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All the authors declare no conflict of interests.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical Standards of the institutional or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or compatible ethical Standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health (SCIBIS)Università degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly

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