Activity trackers help lift exercise levels

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Researchers at the University of Manchester have conducted the largest ever review of the effect of movement-monitoring devices, such as pedometers, on the activity of individuals with diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Using data from 36 studies, with a total of 5,208 participants, researchers investigated the short-term effects of using wearable step-counting devices on the physical activity in adults with cardiometabolic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). They found the devices were associated with small-to-medium improvements in physical activity. The paper was recently published in the open-access journal JAMA Network Open on October 9 2019.

Results from previous studies have shown that the use of pedometers helps people with chronic conditions to increase their physical activity levels. However, the authors of this paper note that a major limitation from previous studies is that interventions involving step-counting devices vary a lot, so it is unclear which interventions are most effective.

Dr. Alex Hodkinson, one of the researchers who carried out the study, said; “This study differs to earlier ones because it has looked at which types of interventions using the two most common monitoring devices (accelerometers and pedometers) are most effective in improving physical activity among people with diabetes and cardiometabolic conditions.”

He added; “We have also determined some of the key factors that moderate their performance, such as the ‘personnel’ involved delivering the intervention and participant level factors like ‘age and gender.'”

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