Research Study Abstract

Accelerometer Cut Points for Physical Activity Assessment of Older Adults with Parkinson’s Disease

  • Published on Sept. 2, 2015

Objective: To define accelerometer cut points for different walking speeds in older adults with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease.

Methods: A volunteer sample of 30 older adults (mean age 73; SD 5.4 years) with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease walked at self-defined brisk, normal, and slow speeds for three minutes in a circular indoor hallway, each wearing an accelerometer around the waist. Walking speed was calculated and used as a reference measure. Through ROC analysis, accelerometer cut points for different levels of walking speed in counts per 15 seconds were generated, and a leave-one-out cross-validation was performed followed by a quadratic weighted Cohen’s Kappa, to test the level of agreement between true and cut point–predicted walking speeds.

Results: Optimal cut points for walking speeds  1.0 m/s were  328 and  470 counts/15 sec; for speeds > 1.3 m/s, they were  730 and  851 counts/15 sec for the vertical axis and vector magnitude, respectively. Sensitivity and specificity were 61%–100% for the developed cut points. The quadratic weighted Kappa showed substantial agreement: κ = 0.79 (95% CI 0.70–0.89) and κ = 0.69 (95% CI 0.56–0.82) for the vertical axis and the vector magnitude, respectively.

Conclusion: This study provides accelerometer cut points based on walking speed for physical-activity measurement in older adults with Parkinson’s disease for evaluation of interventions and for investigating links between physical activity and health.


  • Håkan Nero 1
  • Martin Benka Wallén 1
  • Erika Franzén 1,2
  • Agneta Ståhle 1
  • Maria Hagströmer 1


  • 1

    Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Division of Physiotherapy, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

  • 2

    Department of Physical Therapy, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden




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