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Abstract

In older adults, physical activity is crucial for healthy aging and associated with numerous health indicators and outcomes. Regular assessments of physical activity can help detect early health-related changes and manage physical activity targeted interventions. The quantification of physical activity, however, is difficult as commonly used self-reported measures are biased and rather unprecise point in time measurements. Modern alternatives are commonly based on wearable technologies which are accurate but suffer from usability and compliance issues. In this study, we assessed the potential of an unobtrusive ambient-sensor based system for continuous, long-term physical activity quantification. Towards this goal, we analysed one year of longitudinal sensor- and medical-records stemming from thirteen community-dwelling old and oldest old subjects. Based on the sensor data the daily number of room-transitions as well as the raw sensor activity were calculated. We did find the number of roomtransitions, and to some degree also the raw sensor activity, to capture numerous known associations of physical activity with cognitive, well-being and motor health indicators and outcomes. The results of this study indicate that such low-cost unobtrusive ambient-sensor systems can provide an adequate approximation of older adults’ overall physical activity, sufficient to capture relevant associations with health indicators and outcomes.

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