Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Do wearable lifestyle activity monitors really work?

17.09.2014

Wearable electronic activity monitors hold great promise in helping people to reach their fitness and health goals. These increasingly sophisticated devices help the wearers improve their wellness by constantly monitoring their activities and bodily responses. This information is organized into companion computer programs and mobile apps.

Given the large and quickly growing market for these devices, researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston analyzed 13 of these activity monitors, such as those made by Fitbit, Jawbone or Nike, to compare how the devices and their companion apps work to motivate the wearer.

The researchers found that while many of these devices’ apps were in line with recommendations from the health community, several are missing aspects that are important for reaching goals. In the end, device selection is dependent on the user’s personal needs and preferences.

This research highlights similarities between the devices and the methods used by health care providers with their patients. This study was recently published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

“Despite their rising popularity, little is known about how these monitors differ from one another, what options they provide in their applications and how these options may impact their effectiveness,” said Elizabeth Lyons, senior author and assistant professor at UTMB’s Institute for Translational Sciences. “The feedback provided by these devices can be as, if not more, comprehensive than that provided by health care professionals.”

These devices improve on standard pedometers by measuring and providing feedback on several health/fitness dimensions including calories burned, type of exercise activity undertaken, sleep quality and measurements of heart rate, skin sweat and body temperature. Many, including Jawbone, Fitbit and Nike, have goal-setting and progress feedback, social support, and an array of easy-to-read charts and progress trackers based on the users’ individual goals.

The research team investigated 13 commercially available activity monitors, including devices by Basis, BodyMedia, Misfit, Fitbug, Ibitz, Polar and Withings, to detail what tactics they use to promote healthy and fit behaviors, determine how closely they match successful interventions and compare the functionality of several devices and their apps to the recommendations of health care professionals.

The researchers found that most of the interactive tools in these devices’ apps for goal setting, self monitoring and feedback were in line with what health care professionals recommend for their patients. The number of available app tools was similar to the amount of techniques used by health care professionals to increase their patients’ physical activity. However, several tactics associated with successfully increasing physical activity were uncommon in or absent from the monitor systems, including action planning, instruction on how to do the behavior, commitment and problem solving.

In the end, the apps with the most features may not be as useful as those with fewer but more effective tools. Individual success is also likely influenced by individual preferences and needs, such as the need for a waterproof monitor for swimming or a device with energy balance information including food logs, which may make them more suitable for weight loss attempts than systems that monitor activity and weight only.

Beyond the more typical uses for weight loss aids, electronic activity monitors may also be useful for patients when they are released from the hospital as a measure of recovery and quality of life. The consistent, objective measures used by these monitors could help health care professionals identify at-risk individuals for secondary prevention and rehabilitation purposes.

“This content analysis provides preliminary information as to what these devices are capable of, laying a foundation for clinical, public health and rehabilitation applications,” said Lyons. “Future studies are needed to further investigate new types of electronic activity monitors and to test their feasibility, acceptability and ultimately their public health impact.”

Other authors of this paper include Zakkoyya Lewis and Jennifer Rowland from UTMB and Brian Mayrsohn from the University of Central Florida.

This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Education, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the American Heart Association. 

Donna Ramirez | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.utmb.edu/newsroom/article9889.aspx

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Oxygen loss in the coastal Baltic Sea is “unprecedentedly severe”
05.07.2018 | European Geosciences Union

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>