Measurement of daily physical activity using the SenseWear Armband: compliance, comfort, adverse side effects and usability

Renae J. McNamara*, Ling Ling Y. Tsai, Sally L. Wootton, L. W. Cindy Ng, Marita T. Dale, Zoe J. McKeough, Jennifer A. Alison

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Little is known about the acceptability of wearing physical activity-monitoring devices. This study aimed to examine the compliance, comfort, incidence of adverse side effects, and usability when wearing the SenseWear Armband (SWA) for daily physical activity assessment. In a prospective study, 314 participants (252 people with COPD, 36 people with a dust-related respiratory disease and 26 healthy age-matched people) completed a purpose-designed questionnaire following a 7-day period of wearing the SWA. Compliance, comfort levels during the day and night, adverse side effects and ease of using the device were recorded. Non-compliance with wearing the SWA over 7 days was 8%. The main reasons for removing the device were adverse side effects and discomfort. The SWA comfort level during the day was rated by 11% of participants as uncomfortable/very uncomfortable, with higher levels of discomfort reported during the night (16%). Nearly half of the participants (46%) experienced at least one adverse skin irritation side effect from wearing the SWA including itchiness, skin irritation and rashes, and/or bruising. Compliance with wearing the SWA for measurement of daily physical activity was found to be good, despite reports of discomfort and a high incidence of adverse side effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-154
Number of pages11
JournalChronic Respiratory Disease
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • COPD
  • obesity
  • patient acceptance of health care
  • physical activity
  • questionnaire
  • activity monitoring


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