Accelerometer (daily physical activity)

At baseline, completion of your first course of colorectal cancer treatment or about 9 months later (treatment timepoint) and at the surveillance timepoints, you may also optionally wear an accelerometer (fitness tracker) around your waist to track your daily physical activity for up to 7 days. This activity is optional, yet we greatly would appreciate your participation.

Q: Can I take the accelerometer off?

A: We would like you to wear it for as much as possible, but we also understand that there may be situations that it is not possible or you really don’t want to wear it (e.g. a fancy dinner). It is ok to take it off and not wear it for a little while, but if that time stretches more than a few hours we would ask that you wear it for an additional day to make sure we have enough time to get a good measure of your physical activity. 

Q: Should I do as much physical activity as I can while I am wearing the accelerometer?

A: Actually, no. While getting physical activity is always a good thing, the goal of these devices is to measure how much activity you are currently getting over the course of your normal week. So we don’t really want you to do anything that you would not normally do just because you are wearing a device that is measuring your activity levels. 

Q: Why do you want me to wear this device?

A: This device is called an accelerometer, or physical activity monitor. It measures how much physical activity you are getting over the course of a week, which we think may influence many of the things that we are measuring in this study. So rather than ask you a million questions about all the physical activity you do over the course of a week (e.g. ‘How many minutes did you walk around the store last Thursday?’, or ‘How many times did you get out of your chair during the football game on Sunday?’), we are asking that you wear this device for a week at a time, a few times over the course of the study period instead.

Q: How many days do you want me to wear it?

A: We know that most people don’t do exactly the same thing every day, especially on the weekdays compared to the weekends. So we are asking that you wear it for seven days, in order for us to have a good idea of your physical activity levels over the course of the entire week.

Q: How do you want me to wear the device?

A: In order to get the best measurements, the accelerometer should be worn around your waist, sitting approximately over the front part of your right hipbone. We will attach the accelerometer to a belt, and you can wear this belt over or under your outer layer of clothes, depending on what is most comfortable for you.

Q: Should I wear the device even when I am sleeping?

A: Ideally, yes. But we also know that for some people the waistband is not comfortable for sleeping, and may keep you awake more than you normally would be. If that is the case, we would ask that you not wear it at night when you are sleeping, but make sure to put it back on first thing after you wake up the next day.

Q: Can I get the device wet?

A: These accelerometers are water resistant, but not waterproof. So we ask that you not wear it while you are bathing/showering or if you are going to a pool, however you do not need to be concerned about making sure it is all covered up if you get caught in the rain.

Q: When I am wearing the device, will you know where I am and exactly what I am doing?

A: No. There is no GPS or location tracking in the device, and it is not accurate enough to be able to tell the difference between activities you are doing (e.g. cleaning the house vs playing with the dogs), only if you are being active or not.

Q: Is there a website where I can download the software to see my physical activity levels?

A: Not for this device. It is being used for research purposes, the only way to access the information on the device is by plugging it into our specific computer in our lab at Vanderbilt. However, if you are able to complete the accelerometer protocol and return the accelerometer after each time you are asked to wear it, you will be given a new FitBit© Accelerometer and access to their website that will allow you to measure and keep track of all your physical activity that you are getting.