Recent research has shown that machine learning techniques can accurately predict activity classes from accelerometer data in adolescents and adults. The purpose of this study is to develop and test machine learning models for predicting activity type in preschool-aged children.
Participants completed 12 standardised activity trials (TV, reading, tablet game, quiet play, art, treasure hunt, cleaning up, active game, obstacle course, bicycle riding) over two laboratory visits.
Eleven children aged 3–6 years (mean age = 4.8 ± 0.87; 55% girls) completed the activity trials while wearing an ActiGraph GT3X+ accelerometer on the right hip. Activities were categorised into five activity classes: sedentary activities, light activities, moderate to vigorous activities, walking, and running. A standard feed-forward Artificial Neural Network and a Deep Learning Ensemble Network were trained on features in the accelerometer data used in previous investigations (10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles and the lag-one autocorrelation).
Overall recognition accuracy for the standard feed forward Artificial Neural Network was 69.7%. Recognition accuracy for sedentary activities, light activities and games, moderate-to-vigorous activities, walking, and running was 82%, 79%, 64%, 36% and 46%, respectively. In comparison, overall recognition accuracy for the Deep Learning Ensemble Network was 82.6%. For sedentary activities, light activities and games, moderate-to-vigorous activities, walking, and running recognition accuracy was 84%, 91%, 79%, 73% and 73%, respectively.
Ensemble machine learning approaches such as Deep Learning Ensemble Network can accurately predict activity type from accelerometer data in preschool children.