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eMouveRecherche, an Android application to monitor daily physical activity

Scientists in the Joint Research Unit for Human Nutrition and their partners have developed an Android application which, on an everyday basis, can estimate the energy expenditure and time spent in four levels of activity: immobile (motionless), light-, moderate- and vigorous- intensity.

Android application to track daily physical activity. © INRA, Inra
Updated on 04/17/2015
Published on 04/14/2015

Physical activity: at least 30 minutes a day!

A sedentary lifestyle and obesity are respectively the fourth and five leading causes of death throughout the world.  In France, more than 6.5 million adults are obese and 14.4 million are overweight.  The funds allocated by health insurance schemes to managing obesity in France reach between €10 billion and €15 billion each year.  In the face of these colossal sums, prevention is the optimum weapon, supported by campaigns to promote physical activity.  The equivalent of at least 30 minutes of brisk walking is thus recommended each day (at least one hour for children and adolescents).  In recent years, connected objects have made their appearance in the fields of health and sports coaching in order to assist the general public in monitoring or improving their health.  Because they are simple to use, accurate and fun, these objects constitute an excellent tool to raise awareness.  They can also provide valuable help to health professionals when they recommend physical activity, as well as for the remote monitoring and encouragement of patients.

An application to evaluate the energy expenditure of normal-weight and overweight adult subjects/patients

Working in collaboration with the data management company Almerys and Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital, with a contribution from LIMOS, scientists in the Joint Research Unit for Human Nutrition have developed an Android application which, on an everyday basis, can estimate the energy expenditure and time spent in four levels of exercise: sedentary, light, moderate and vigorous.  Called eMouveRecherche, this app is one of the few to take account of light physical exercise and cover a long period each day (14 hours).  In addition, it can also detect trips in cars or public transport, which it recognises and assimilates to sedentary activities.

The algorithms thus developed have been validated in normal-weight and overweight individuals and can produce accurate estimates with an error of less than 10% when compared to reference energy expenditure methods/sensors.  

Operation of this app is based on the collection of accelerometry data via a smartphone carried in the front pocket of trousers.  Once collected on the smartphone, the data are sent to INRA's ActivCollector web platform (https://activcollector.clermont.inra.fr/) for algorithmic processing.  The results are then returned to the users and integrated in ergonomic interfaces which at a glance can indicate the amount of exercise taken.  In addition, in the context of research projects, via ActivCollector the scientists and/or physicians involved can receive detailed results concerning the activities of their volunteers/patients.

This app is currently available on Google Play for research projects: http://goo.gl/SHQ0D7

Development of this model into a product for use by companies or mutual insurance funds will be entrusted to Almerys, a partner in the project.  Use of the app for research purposes is being entrusted to INRA.

eMouveRecherche, the first stage in a more wide-ranging application

eMouveRecherche is one of the three parts of the WellBeNet software suite, under the "quantified self" concept.  The aim of this suite is to become a tool to evaluate everyday behaviour so that people can maintain a good state of health for as long as possible.  Two other parts will supplement the suite:

  • Nutriquantic: the aim is to establish a nutritional profile based on the consumption frequencies of different food types.  Based on these frequencies, indices will be calculated in order to determine compliance with the PNNS guidelines (National Nutrition and Health Programme).
  • EmoSens: its aim is to study the interrelations between emotions/sensations and behavioural choices, whether they are dietary or in the form of physical exercise.
Scientific contact(s):

  • Sylvie Rousset Joint Research Unit for Human Nutrition INRA CRNH d’Auvergne 63122 Saint Genès Champanelle- Nutrition, Chemical Food Safety and Consumer Behaviour Division Clermont Ferrand Research Centre
Associated Division(s):
Nutrition, Chemical Food Safety and Consumer Behaviour
Associated Centre(s):