Loading [Contrib]/a11y/accessibility-menu.js
Toepoel, Vera, Annemieke Luiten, and Robbert Zandvliet. 2021. “Response, Willingness, and Data Donation in a Study on Accelerometer Possession in the General Population.” Survey Practice 14 (1). https://doi.org/10.29115/SP-2021-0005.
Download all (6)
  • Table 1. Activity tracker possession, willingness to share data from own tracker, and willingness to wear a professional loaned tracker.
  • Table 2. Willingness of respondents with own device to copy or upload their data.
  • Table 3. Willingness related to intensity of use of own device (daily or sometimes).1
  • Table 4. Compliance to PA by activity tracker
  • Table 5. Physical activity in follow-up study as measured by the ActivPAL.
  • Appendix B: Representativity for gender, education, and age

Abstract

In this study, we investigate prevalence of smartwatches; activity trackers (e.g., Fitbits); and apps to track personal activity on smartphones in the Dutch general population. In addition, we ask for respondents’ willingness to participate in a follow-up accelerometer study and wear a professional loaned activity tracker for a week. About half of the sample owns a personal device to track physical activity; 58.0% of those respondents are willing to copy personal data from the device into a questionnaire; 40.6% are willing to upload a spreadsheet from their personal device to a research portal. About half of the respondents of the entire sample express willingness to participate in a follow-up study and wear a professional accelerometer for a week. However, once invited, only 60.0% actually consent to participation. Respondents who own a personal device to monitor physical activity are more inclined to participate in the follow-up accelerometer study than respondents who do not own a personal device. This study shows that respondents with personal activity trackers show higher levels of physical activity compared to respondents without a personal device. In addition, participants in the follow-up study show higher levels of physical activity. Hence, estimating physical activity from personal activity trackers or professional activity trackers will likely result in biased results. We do not find significant differences between respondents with a personal device versus respondents without—nor people who participate in the accelerometer follow-up study—in sitting, standing, and lying time, however. Estimating sedentary behavior from personal or professional activity trackers is likely to result in unbiased results.

Accepted: April 12, 2021 EDT

Appendix A: Questionnaire (translation of the original Dutch questionnaire)

Questionnaire I&O Research activity trackers and data donation

This questionnaire is about physical activity. We ask you questions about your physical activity behavior and about devices with which that behavior can be measured.

The questions are part of a study that I&O Research is conducting together with the Central Bureau of Statistics and Utrecht University.

We’ll start with a few questions about how often you move.

[SPLIT RUN: 50% gets block A, 50% gets block B]

BLOCK A

1. How many hours on average per week do you have moderately intensive physical activity?
You should think of the movement you have by, for example, cycling to work or the supermarket, housework or climbing stairs. So, this is different from sports!
• less than 30 minutes a week • 2 to 2.5 hours a week
• 30 minutes to 1 hour per week • 2.5 to 3 hours per week
• 1 to 1.5 hours per week • 3 to 3.5 hours per week
• 1.5 to 2 hours per week • more than 3.5 hours per week

2. How many days per week do you have at least 30 minutes (in total) of moderately intensive physical activity? This is the average number of days in an ordinary week. You should think of the movement you have by, for example, cycling to work or the supermarket, housework, or climbing stairs. So, this is different from sports!
• less than 1 day a week • 4 days a week
• 1 day a week • 5 days a week
• 2 days a week • 6 days a week
• 3 days a week • 7 days a week

3. How often per week on average do you do muscle or bone strengthening activities?
• Muscle strengthening activities include actions to improve strength, endurance, and size of the muscles. Consider, for example, running, football, tennis, or fitness.
• Bone strengthening activities consist of strength training and activities in which the body is loaded with its own weight. Think, for example, of climbing stairs, walking, running, and dancing.
• less than 1 day a week • 4 days a week
• 1 day a week • 5 days a week
• 2 days a week • 6 days a week
• 3 days a week • 7 days a week

4. How often on average per week do you do balance physical activities?
Balance physical activities are physical activities aimed at improving balance while standing or moving, such as standing on one leg or picking up an object from the floor. But also think of yoga, Tai Chi, or gymnastics.
• less than 1 day a week • 4 days a week
• 1 day a week • 5 days a week
• 2 days a week • 6 days a week
• 3 days a week • 7 days a week

BLOCK B

In your mind, take a normal week in recent months. Would you like to indicate how many days per week you performed the activities below and how much time on average you spent on such a day?

1. Commuting (back and forth)
If you have not performed an activity, enter 0. number of days per week average time per day
walk to/from work or school hours minutes
cycling to/from work or school hours minutes

2. Physical activity at work or school
If you have not performed an activity, enter 0. Number of hours per week
light and moderately strenuous work (sitting/standing work with occasional walking, such as desk work or walking work with light loads). hour
strenuous work (ongoing work or work that regularly requires heavy lifting). hour

3. Household activities
If you have not performed an activity, enter 0. number of days per week average time per day
light and moderately strenuous household work (standing work such as cooking, doing the dishes, ironing, feeding/bathing the child, and ongoing work such as vacuuming, shopping). hours minutes
strenuous housework (such as scrubbing floors, beating carpet, and running with heavy groceries). hours minutes

4. Free time
If you have not performed an activity,
enter a 0. number of days per week average time per day
walking hour minutes
cycling hour minutes
gardening hours minutes
DIY/DIY hours minutes

5. Sports
Which sport (s) do you play? Here you can write down a maximum of 4 sports, e.g., fitness / endurance training, tennis, running, football. If you don’t play sports, you can skip the question by clicking “next.” number of days per week average time per day
hours minutes

6. Are you a member of a sports association or do you have a subscription to a fitness center, swimming pool, or another sports provider? Multiple answers possible.
• member of a sports association
• subscription to fitness center, swimming pool, or other sports provider
• neither

[from here everyone again; the numbering in the routes runs from here]

There are various devices that can measure whether someone is moving, and sometimes whether someone is walking, running, or cycling. Some devices can also measure heart rate.
1. Do you have one or more of the following devices that allow movement?
1. Do you have one or more of the following motion measurement devices? It doesn’t matter whether you use the device or not. Multiple answers possible.
a. a smartwatch: a digital watch that also measures other things, such as movement and heart rate
b. an activity tracker (a device that measures movement and can possibly also display the time)
c. an (app on your) phone that can measure movement
d. I don’t have any of the above devices

If 1 = a
2a. Are you using your smartwatch to measure your movement?
a. yes, daily
b. yes, occasionally / sometimes
c. I did, but not anymore
d. No

If 1 = b
2b. Are you using your activity tracker to measure your movement?
a. yes, daily
b. yes, occasionally/sometimes
c. I did, but not anymore
d. No

If 1 = c
2c. Do you use (the app on) your phone to measure your movement?
a. yes, daily
b. yes, occasionally/sometimes
c. I did, but not anymore
d. No

If 2c = a, b
2d. Have you put special physical activity apps on your phone to measure your movement?
a. yes
b. no, I’m using the default apps already on the phone

If 1 = a and / or 1 = b
2nd. What is the brand of your smartwatch or activity tracker? If you have multiple devices, you can start from the device you use most.
a. Apple
b. Samsung
c. Huawei
d. Fitbit
e. Garmin
f. Fossil
g. Xiaomi mi band / MiFit
h. Polar
i. Otherwise, namely…. (Open)

If 2a = b and / or 2b = b and / or 2c = b
3. How often do you track your movement with the device you use (most)?
a. 4 days a week or more
b. 1 to 3 days a week
c. 1 to 3 days a month
d. less than 1 day per month

If 2a = a, b and / or 2b = a, b and / or 2c = a, b
4. What measures the device you (most) use to measure your movement? Multiple answers possible.
a. number of steps
b. traveled distance
c. number of active minutes
d. calorie burning
e. heartbeat
f. duration of sleep
g. current and/or average speed
h. number of steps walked
i. type of activity (e.g., cycling, walking, running)
j. other, namely… (open)

Routing based on question 4: only show the aspects that have been checked in question 4
10. For the following matters, can you indicate what yesterday at the end of the day was the position of the device that you (most) use to measure your movement?
a. yes, the booth was .. (open)
b. I don’t know how to read this from my device
c. I don’t want to say this

a. number of steps
b. traveled distance
c. number of active minutes
d. calorie burning
e. heartbeat
f. duration of sleep
g. average speed
h. number of steps walked

If 2a = a, b and / or 2b = a, b and / or 2c = a, b
5. How accurately do you think the device you (most) use measures your movement?
a. My device measures my movement very accurately.
b. My device measures my movement quite accurately.
c. Some activities are measured accurately, but not all.
d. My device does not measure my movement as accurately.
e. My device does not accurately measure my movement at all.

If 5 = c, d, e
5a. Why do you have the impression that this device does not (sometimes) measure your movement accurately? Please consider:
• Do you have examples when your device is not measuring accurately?
• Does your device sometimes give different measurements in comparable situations?
• Are there any measurements that your device always makes wrong?
(open question)

If 2a = a, b and / or 2b = a, b and / or 2c = a, b
We are currently investigating ways in which we can collect data about physical activity. This provides useful information for future studies. It is possible to share data from your own device with I&O Research. This can be done, for example, by including data in a questionnaire.
7. Would you be willing to include the measured movements of your device in a questionnaire? If you have several devices, it is one of these devices.
a. Yes, I am willing to fill in the details of my device in a questionnaire.
b. Yes, I want to fill in some data, but not all of them.
c. No, I am not prepared to share this data with I&O Research via a questionnaire.
d. No, I am not prepared to share this data with I&O Research at all.

If 7 = a, b
7a. Over what period of time would you be willing to include the measured movements of your device in a questionnaire? Please enter the maximum period over which you would like to share your device data.
a. 1 day
b. 1 week
c. 2 weeks
d. 3 weeks
e. a period longer than 3 weeks

If 7 = a, b, c
You can also provide I&O Research insight into data about your physical activity behavior via overviews that come directly from your device, for example by downloading them.
7b. Would you be willing to download an overview of your data and share it with I&O Research? You will receive information from us about how to do this and how we handle your data confidentially.
a. Yes, I would be willing to download and share data with I&O Research.
b. No, I am not willing to share my data in this way I&O Research.

If 7 = d or 7b = b
7c. What is the reason that you are not willing to share data about your movement behavior of your device with I&O Research? Multiple answers possible.
a. It takes me too much time.
b. The data is confidential.
c. I think this violates my privacy too much.
d. It seems too hard to do.
d. different, namely… (open)

If 7 = d or 7b = b
7d. Under what condition (s) would you be willing to share the data about your movement behavior of your device with I&O Research? Multiple answers possible.
a. if this were to be done completely anonymously
b. if this was made easy for me (pushing a button or taking a screenshot)
c. if I was convinced of the goal, for example scientific research
d. if this would earn me financial compensation
e. if I had a chance of a generous financial compensation (250 euros)
f. if this would provide me with insight into my physical activity behavior (add if necessary: compared to the Dutch physical activity standard)
g. if I were to receive advice about my physical activity habits
h. different, namely… (open)
i. under no circumstances will I share information about the movement behavior of my device with I&O Research

If 7d = d
7th. How high should a financial compensation be to ensure that you share data about your device movement behavior with I&O Research?
a. 20 euros
b. 40 euros
c. 80 euros
d. another amount, namely… (open)

If 1 = a, b, c
9a. You have a device that measures movement. For some studies, it is important that all participants use the same device. If we loan you an activity tracker for a week, would you be willing to wear this device for a week? Afterward, you send the device back to I&O Research, and we collect the data from it.
During this week, you also keep track of the physical activity data of your own device. You write this information down in a questionnaire at the end of each day.
As a thank you for your participation, you will receive Bol.com credit worth 20 euros afterward. You will also receive an overview with information about your physical activity behavior.
[Programmer: add an information balloon to the term “device” containing “The activity tracker is attached to the leg with a bandage. I&O Research will send you the tracker, accompanied by clear instructions. The tracker will be disinfected before it is shipped to you. After a week of wearing, return the tracker (free of charge).”]
a. Yes, I am willing to wear a device from I&O Research for a week to share the data and also keep a daily record of data from my own device
b. No, I am not willing to wear an I&O Research device and share the data.

If 1 = d
9b. You do not own a device that measures movement. If we lend you a device (activity tracker) for a week, would you be willing to wear this device for a week? Afterward, you send the device back to I&O Research, and we collect the data from it.
As a thank you for your participation, you will receive Bol.com credit worth 20 euros afterward. You will also receive an overview with information about your physical activity behavior.
[Programmer: add an information balloon to the term “device” containing “The activity tracker is attached to the leg with a bandage. I&O Research will send you the tracker with clear instructions. The tracker will be disinfected before it is sent to you. After a week of wearing, return the tracker (free of charge).”]
a. Yes, I am willing to wear an I&O Research device for a week and share the data.
b. No, I am not willing to wear an I&O Research device and share the data.

If 9b = b
9c. If we gave you an activity tracker that you can keep afterward, would you be willing to wear this device for a week and share the physical activity data with us?
a. Yes, I am willing to share a week’s physical activity data if I can keep the device afterward.
b. No, that does not change my opinion. I am not willing to wear an I&O Research device and share the data.

If 9a = b or 9c = b
9d. Under what condition (s) would you be willing to wear an I&O Research activity tracker for one week and share the physical activity data with us? Multiple answers possible.
a. if this were to be done completely anonymously
b. if I was convinced of the goal, for example scientific research
c. if this would earn me a higher financial compensation
d. if I had a chance of a generous financial compensation (250 euros)
e. if this would provide me with insight into my physical activity behavior (add if necessary: compared to the Dutch physical activity standard)
f. if I were to receive advice about my physical activity habits
g. otherwise, namely…
h. Under no circumstances do I share data on the movement behavior of a device with I&O Research

If 9d = c
9e. How high should a financial compensation be to ensure that you wear an I&O Research activity tracker for one week and share data about your physical activity with us?
i. 40 euros
j. 60 euros
k. 80 euros
l. another amount, namely… [open]

These were all questions about your physical activity behavior and about devices with which that behavior can be measured.

Depending on the results, we may contact you shortly to ask if you would like to participate in a follow-up study.

In that case, you will receive an email with additional information about what participation means. On the basis of this email, you can then decide whether you actually want to participate.

Appendix B: Representativity for gender, education, and age
Questionnaire Accelerometer
Gross sample Net sample Consent Received Wore ≥ 4 days
Gender
Male 47.7 49.6 47.2 53.2 51.2
Female 52.3 50.4 52.8 46.8 48.8
Education
Low 23.8 23.8 18.9 23.4 23.3
Medium 39.0 38.2 38.2 36.1 34.9
High 37.2 38.1 43.0 40.4 41.9
Age
18–34 20.7 18.1 22.0 29.8 30.2
35–49 20.2 17.2 20.9 25.5 23.3
50–64 34.6 35.9 35.3 23.4 23.3
65+ 24.4 28.8 21.7 21.3 23.3
N 4.997 2.276 1.109 47 43

Note: We used no upper limit for age. The oldest respondent was 90 years old. Low education=0–2, medium education=3–5 and high education is 6–8 according to International Standard Classification of Education.


  1. We randomly divided respondents to two versions of a health survey to investigate comparability of the two surveys. Results are not shown here. Type of health survey did not affect willingness to share data. Also, the type of health survey did not affect willingness to participate in the follow-up study for respondents with their own devices. We found a significant difference of the type of health survey on willingness to participate in the follow-up study for respondents without own devices (45.1 % in version A vs. 39.3% in version B, Chi2 (1,1157) = 3.95, p=.05).

  2. The survey was held in June 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many people worked from home and could not participate in physical activities.

  3. This “other” category was an open question, and respondents could mention more than one reason. Therefore, we give a percentage on the total number of answers.

  4. Analyses showed that having a smartwatch or having another kind of dedicated activity tracker was highly similarly related to the phenomena under study. In the remainder of this article, the data for these two devices are pooled.