AMPACe – Accelerometers for Monitoring Physical Activity in Primary Care

Project Short Title

Project Status

Tejas Kanhere, Mark Harris


Physical inactivity is a growing health concern worldwide, and has been linked with multiple adverse health conditions including obesity and coronary heart disease. In Australia, more than half of the population do not meet the current recommendations for physical activity (PA). GP’s are in an excellent position to monitor PA in patients, which currently involves use of standardised questionnaires such as the GP Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPPAQ). These can be difficult to administer regularly owing to multiple factors such as lack of software integration. Our study aims to assess if accelerometers, or wrist based activity trackers, can be used in this setting as a potential new way for monitoring PA in patients at risk of physical inactivity. 


Primary Hypotheses

  • Accelerometers are a potentially viable GP-based intervention for promoting PA in patients
  • Study participants will be able to integrate accelerometer use in their daily life

Secondary Hypotheses

  • Increased self-awareness caused by accelerometer use can promote PA behavioural change
  • GP’s will find accelerometers to be a useful and motivating intervention for monitoring PA

Design and Methods

A mixed methodology study will be conducted. Up to 30 participants will be recruited from 5 practices across Sydney. Participants will be aged between 40 and 65 with a BMI ≥ 30, and not meet any of the exclusion criteria, namely having already used an accelerometer in the past, having significant limitations in cognitive function or potential exercise tolerance, and/or being unable to communicate in English. An initial health assessment will be carried out by the practice nurse which will consist of a medical history, anthropometric data collection and a brief questionnaire on current PA level, diet and sleep habits.

 These participants will then be given an accelerometer (Xiaomi Mi Band 1, costing ~$20AUD) and trained on how to use the device as part of a discussion on PA. They will then be followed up monthly by their GP who will suggest PA goals for their next visit until the end of the 3-month study period. During this time, GP’s and study participants will be periodically interviewed qualitatively to gain feedback on accelerometer use. After three months, a repeat health assessment identical to the initial will be performed by the practice nurse. The acquired data will subsequently be analysed.

Publications and Presentations