Measuring steps with the Fitbit activity tracker: an inter-device reliability study

Manon L. Dontje, Martijn de Groot, Remko Lengton, Cees van der Schans, Wim Krijnen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Activity trackers like Fitbit are used for self-tracking of physical activity by an increasing number of individuals. Comparing physical activity scores with peers can contribute to the desired behavioural change. However, for meaningful social comparison a high inter-device reliability is paramount. This study aimed to determine the inter-device reliability of Fitbit activity trackers in measuring steps. Ten activity trackers (Fitbit Ultra) were worn by a single person (male,
46 years) during eight consecutive days. Inter-device reliability was assessed on three different levels of aggregation (minutes, hours, days) with various methods, including intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC), Bland-Altman plots, limits of agreement (LOA) and Mixed Model Analysis. Results showed that the inter-device reliability of the Fitbit in measuring steps is good at all levels of aggregation (minutes, hours, days), but especially when steps were measured
per day. This implies that individuals can reliably compare their daily physical activity scores with peers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-290
JournalJournal of medical engineering & technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015


  • physical activity
  • objective measurement
  • reliability
  • accelerometry


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