Rita Laureanti1, #, Matteo Zago2, #, Nicola Lovecchio3, Paolo Bozzuto4, Gianfranco Orsenigo4, Andrea Di Franco4, Luca Mainardi1


1Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering (DEIB), Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy - 2Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy - 3Department of Human and Social Science, University of Bergamo, Bergamo, Italy - 4Department of Architecture and Urban Studies (DAStU), Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy


Background: Sport activity has numerous positive effects, both emotionally and physically, especially inside a difficult environment such as prisons. However, overcrowding and inadequate structures often prevent a good level of sport practice inside jails. While qualitative instruments like questionnaires have been used to evaluate sport in prisons, no previous study has performed an instrumental assessment on physical activity levels and functional skills of people in jails. The aim of this study is to quantify the level of fitness and the quantity of sport activity practiced inside the detention center “Bollate Prison“, in the metropolitan area of Milan, Italy.

Materials and Methods: Thirty-six inmates wore an instrumented wristband continuously measuring their activity (steps, calories spent, sleep, and more) for five days, while reporting their perceived activity in a diary. The time spent in moderate-vigorous activities was computed and any inmate with an average of 30 minutes of moderate-vigorous activity per day was considered active.

Results: Only 3 out of 36 participants resulted to carry on an “active“ lifestyle, with an average time of moderate-vigorous activity of 10 min/day for the whole studied cohort. An average of around 13000 steps/day was measured. The Training Load, computed as the hours of sport activity reported in the diary times the perceived effort, was on average 510 a.u..

Conclusions: The sport activity measured in the studied population resulted lower than the level suggested by the World Health Organization standards; only three participants met the criteria to be considered as active. Moreover, inconsistency was noted between measured and perceived activity (average reported Training Load).


Physical activity, physical fitness, wearable device, prison, jail.