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Measurement and Quantification of Physical Behaviour

The group aims to promote and facilitate the study and applications of objective measurement and quantification of free-living physical behaviour(s) and its related constructs using body-worn devices. The group has been developing event-based analysis techniques and outcome measures for the quantification of free-living physical behaviours. Collaborations with clinicians and health practitioners allow this research to be applied across varied populations where the benefits of physical activity to health are of key importance. Outcomes measures, based on physical activity patterns, are being developed to quantify the effectiveness of interventions in a wide range of clinical groups and these techniques are also being used to enhance our understanding of how physical behaviours are affected by environmental and social factors.

We have a multidisciplinary focus; including engineering, signal analysis, clinical sciences including nursing, public health and psychology.  Members of the group have well over 100 publications and we have been instrumental in setting up the new International Scientific Society for the Measurement of Physical Behaviours.

The work of this group is undertaken under four closely connected, but broad, research themes.

Falls monitoring and falls prediction

Both the incidence of falls and the severity of the consequences increase with age. Current body-worn falls-alarms, which alert carers, suffer from poor detection rates. We have shown that a novel approach which is based on posture measurement leads to improved detection. Our aim is to investigate this approach in the elderly and also capture information on the type of fall and any potential recovery. Future work will focus on developing a deployable system and to use information on activity recorded prior to the fall to inform new falls prediction algorithms. This work has involved collaboration Four Seasons Healthcare and with the University of Ulm in Stuttgart.

Development of physical activity outcomes for clinical populations

Outcomes measures, based on physical activity patterns, are being developed to quantify the patterns of behaviour and the effectiveness of interventions in a wide range of clinical groups (including osteoarthritis, stroke and heart failure). These techniques are also being used to enhance our understanding of how physical behaviours in these populations can be affected by environmental and social factors. In this theme, we collaborate extensively with a range of clinical partners.

Physical behaviour and public health

Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and breast and colon cancers and physical inactivity is estimated to be responsible for 9% or premature mortality worldwide. The risk of a poor health outcome as a result of physical inactivity, or sedentary behaviour, is similar to the risk for smoking and obesity. However the constructs and definitions of physical activity and sedentary behaviour are ambiguous. The aim of this theme is to develop a model that can provide a unified framework for the terminology and constructs used and to apply this across range of fields from rehabilitation to public health. In addition we have been looking at accepted definitions and measurements of sedentary behaviour and testing this on population survey data. We are also planning an investigation of work based health interventions on physical behaviour.

Physical behaviour in people with dementia

Approximately two thirds of people with dementia live at home and one-third in residential care. With the increase in the ageing population, the number of people with dementia living in residential care is set to rise sharply. Current care home facilities will be unable to cope. We are currently looking at the use of body-worn sensors to monitor the physical behaviour patterns of person with dementia in their own home and use this information to make intelligent decisions about the person’s behaviour which could be communicated to carers and health care workers. This work is being conducted with Salford Institute for Dementia.

“A novel body-worn falls detection system: development and evaluation in the frail elderly population”

Peel Trust funded project which is exploring the use of a novel, posture based, falls detection system in a frail elderly population living in care homes.

“Development of a novel thigh-worn falls detection monitor”

Greater Manchester Academic Health Science funded project which explored the ability to detect a fall using changes in posture from the signals recorded using a thigh-worn sensor system.

“SENIORS USP (Seniors – Understanding Sedentary Patterns)”

MRC funded project in association with Glasgow Caledonian University and others looking at the determinants and predictors of sedentary behaviour and a longitudinal analysis in cohort studies.

“Early VERsus Later Augmented Physiotherapy (EVERLAP) compared with usual upper limb physiotherapy: an exploratory RCT of arm function after stroke”

A CSP funded project which is an exploratory randomised controlled trial (RCT) comparing usual physiotherapy with augmented arm physiotherapy, specifically aimed at improving arm function after stroke, provided either within 2 weeks (“early”) or at 3 months (“later”) after stroke. This is in association with Glasgow Caledonian University, novel activity outcomes are being developed for this.

“The influence of dog ownership on objective measures of free-living physical activity and sedentary behaviour in community-dwelling older adults” 

A Waltham funded project aimed at evaluating the influence of dog ownership on health-enhancing activity patterns in community dwelling older adults (who are currently able to walk unaided) by objectively measuring free-living PA patterns and sedentary behaviour.

Taraldsen K, Thingstad P, Sletvold O, Saltvedt I, Lydersen S, Granat MH, Chastin S, Helbostad J (2015) The effect of being treated in a geriatric ward compared to an orthopaedic ward on physical behaviour 4 and 12 months after a hip fracture. – A randomized controlled trial. BMC Geriatrics, 15:1-8.

Loudon D, Granat MH. (2015) Visualisation of sedentary behaviour using an event-based approach. Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science, 19, 148-157.

Granat MH, Clarke C, Holdsworth R, Stansfield B, Dall P (2015) Quantifying the cadence of free-living walking using event-based analysis. Gait & Posture.

Wijndaele K, Westgate K, Stephens SK, Blair SN, Bull FC, Chastin SFM, Dunstan DW, Ekelund U, Esliger DW, Freedson PS, Granat MH, Matthews CE, Owen N, Rowlands AV, Sherar LB, Tremblay MS, Troiano RP, Brage S, Healy GN (2015) Utilization & Harmonization of Adult Accelerometry Data: Review & Expert Consensus. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Stansfield B, Clarke CL, Dall PM, Godwin R, Holdsworth RJ, Granat MH (2015) True cadence and step accumulation are not equivalent: The effect of intermittent claudication on free-living cadence. Gait and Posture, 41:414-419.

Hollins-Martin CJ, Kenney L, Pratt T, Granat MH (2015) The development and validation of an activity monitoring system for use in measurement of posture of childbearing women during first stage of labour. J Midwifery & Women's Health1526-9523/09/$36.00 doi:10.1111/jmwh.1223

McBrearty D, McCrorie P, Granat M, Duncan E, Stansfield B (2014) Objective assessment of intensity categorization of the previous day physical activity recall questionnaire in 11–13 year old children. Phyiol Meas, 35:2329 – 2342Dall PM, McCrorie PRW,Granat MH, Stansfield BW (2013) Step accumulation per minute epoch is not the same as cadence for free-living adults. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 45:1995 – 2001

Taraldsen K, Sletvold O, Thingstad P, Saltvedt I, Granat MH, Lydersen S, Helbostad JL (2013) Physical behaviour and function early after hip-fracture surgery in patients receiving comprehensive geriatric care or orthopedic care - A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Gerontology, Hussein SE, Hassan OA,Granat MH(2013) Assessment of the potential Iridology for diagnosing kidney disease using wavelet analysis and neural networks. Biomedical Signal Processing and Control, 8:534-541.

Clarke CL, Holdsworth RJ, Ryan CG, Granat MH (2013) Free-Living Physical Activity as a Novel Outcome Measure in Patients with Intermittent Claudication European Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, 45:162 – 167.Mutrie N, Doolin O, Fitzsimons CF, Grant PM,Granat MH, Grealy M, Macdonald M, MacMillan F, McConnachie A, Rowe DA, Shaw R, Skelton DA (2012) Increasing older adults’ walking through primary care: Results of a pilot randomised controlled trial. Family Practice, 29:633 - 642.

Cowie A, Thow MK, Granat MH, Mitchell SL (2012) Effects of home versus hospital-based exercise training in chronic heart failure, International Journal of Cardiology, 158:296-298.Granat MH(2012) Event-based analysis of free-living behaviour. Physiol Meas, 33:1785-1800.

McCrorie PRW, Duncan E, Granat MH, Stansfield BW (2012) The prevalence of upright non-stepping time in comparison to stepping time in 11–13 year old school children across seasons. Physiol Meas, 33:1901-1912.

Davies G, Reilly JJ, McGowan AJ, Dall PM, Granat MH, Paton JY (2012) Validation, practical utility and reliability of the activPAL in pre-school children. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 2012; 44(4):761-8.

We are interested in supervising students in the areas of:

  • The use of body-worn monitors in the evaluation of health interventions.
  • Development of outcome measures based around free-living physical behaviour patterns in clinical populations
  • Falls prediction
  • Falls monitoring
  • Development of analysis techniques for free-living physical behaviour data
  • Pattern recognition in Physical Behaviour data
  • Monitoring physical behaviour changes in people with Dementia

Professor Malcolm Granat
Physical Behaviour Measurement Group Lead

The team

Prof Malcolm Granat

Measurement of Physical Behaviour

Yasser Althebaity

Mr Robert Broadley

Ms Susan Buttress

Miss Alexandra Clarke-Cornwell

Public Health

Prof Penny Cook

Public Health

Dr Anna Cooper

Public Health

Prof Laurence Kenney

Rehabilitation Technologies and Biomedical Engineering

Mr Mark McAloon

Dr Chris Pickford

Ms Clare Rafferty

Sathish Sankarpandi

Abedalmajeed Shajrawi

Dr Sibylle Thies


Dale Walker