Researchers at the MRC Epidemiology Unit often ask people to wear devices that allow them to measure their physical activity. Sometimes they get unexpected results, as Physical Activity Specialist Kate Westgate and Communications Manager Charlotte Ridgway recall in this story of festive frenzy.
Here at the MRC Epidemiology Unit, we frequently ask volunteers to wear a movement or heart rate monitor for up to a week so that we can measure their levels of physical activity during their everyday life. But taking these measurements out of the controlled environment of the clinic can lead to unexpected results.
Sometimes when reviewing the data we get back from the monitors, we become perplexed by patterns that don’t look biologically plausible. For example, leaving a movement monitor called an accelerometer in a pocket and putting it through a washing machine cycle can lead to some pretty crazy “non-physiological” read-outs, as did a child attaching their monitor to their pet dog as an ‘experiment’. Read more