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FAQ for Borrowing Accelerometers

Q: What is an accelerometer?

A: An accelerometer is a small device (about the size of a pager) which can be used for measuring the activity level, activity patterns and caloric expenditure of the person wearing it. It may also be worn on the wrist to determine sleep/wake patterns. Generally the device is worn on an elastic belt, at the waist, under clothing. The device itself has no buttons or attachments which children can play with or alter, so it is safe to use on young children, with no risk of losing data.

Q: Why should we use an accelerometer?

A: The accelerometer provides objective information about physical activity levels. This information can be useful for program evaluation and design, training, education, etc. If you have a program that you think is effective in promoting physical activity, accelerometer data can be used to determine if this is true and help your organization make a compelling case to funders to support your work. (Ideally, accelerometers should be correlated with a log of what activity the person participated in at what time e.g., “John played basketball at 4pm on Tuesday, 12/21/04 for 45 minutes.” This way, the data collected from the accelerometer can be compared with what the person actually did, so you can find out which activities burn more calories.)

Q: Why should we use the CLOCC library accelerometers?

A: CLOCC aims to help its partners in the design and improvement of programs to promote physical activity. Accelerometers are the “gold standard” when it comes to measuring physical activity, but they are typically too expensive for use outside of research (about $400 each). 

ActiGraph is a company which makes accelerometers. They have kindly donated 50 accelerometers to CLOCC for use. CLOCC can facilitate the use of these at minimal cost to your organization. If you find that the CLOCC library is not suitable for you/ your organization, we can provide you with contact information for ActiGraph to discuss your needs.

Q: Do I need IRB (Institutional Review Board) approval to use the accelerometers?

A: The need for IRB is up to your organization’s requirements. The following are your options for using the CLOCC accelerometer library depending on your organization:

1. Within Children’s Memorial Hospital – You must obtain IRB approval from CMH for data collection and analysis.

2. An IRB-affiliated organization- You must obtain IRB approval from your own institution for data collection and analysis.

3. A Non- IRB affiliated organization wishing to do research:
It is your responsibility to obtain IRB approval from an affiliation or private IRB.

a) You may perform the data collection/ analysis yourself.
b) You may make an arrangement with CLOCC to provide assistance with data collection/analysis, which will require the approval of IRBs.

4. A Non-IRB affiliated organization not wishing to perform research:

a) You may perform the data collection/ analysis yourself, without an IRB review if the effort does not constitute research (ie. will not be published).
b) You may make an arrangement with CLOCC to provide assistance with data collection/analysis.

Q: Will CLOCC provide any technical assistance with the initialization of the accelerometers and the downloading and analysis of the data?

A: The initialization of the accelerometers and the downloading of the data can be performed either by your organization or by CLOCC. The software required to initialize the accelerometers and download the data is available for no cost at CLOCC is able to answer any questions regarding data analysis, but will not be able to do the analysis for you, unless you have an agreement with CLOCC to be formally engaged in this research.

Q: What are my obligations if I borrow the accelerometers?

A: The accelerometer library is available to CLOCC partner organizations at no/minimal cost. CLOCC must be informed as to the number of accelerometers to be borrowed and the associated dates. If there are any changes to the dates requested, it is your responsibility to inform and receive approval for the new dates. At the end of the data collection, CLOCC would like a brief report of the results obtained from the use of the accelerometer library. The summary should include the number of children studied, the methods and results.

Q: How do I access the accelerometers?

A: CLOCC is coordinating the library of accelerometers. You will need to fill out a form indicating how many accelerometers you need and for how long. The form is available here.  You can contact Sarah Welch at 312-573-7767 or for more information.


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