Access to data from fitness wearables motivates better individual health, study finds

Written by Jackie Drees | February 06, 2019 | Print  |

Fitness wearables that show an individual's daily tracked activity, such as number of steps taken, lead to an increased number of active hours per day, according to a study performed by Atlantic Health System in Morristown, N.J.

Researchers at Atlantic Sports Health Research Department examined 60 participants between the ages of 25 years old and 55 years old during the 14-week study.

Study participants were randomly placed in three groups:

• Group A wore a device with knowledge of its function and had access to the data measured by the device for the first 30 days of the study.
• Group B wore a device with knowledge of its function but had no access to the data through the corresponding digital app for the first 30 days of the study.
• Group C wore a device with knowledge of its function but had no access to the data for the duration of the study.

For days 31 to 60 of the study, participants from Group A and Group B switched to either gain access to the device's data or lose it.

Results of the study showed that participants who had access to information about their activity progress remained more active than those who only had the device.

"Information is a powerful motivator," said Damion Martins, MD, medical director of sports medicine and sports physical therapy for Atlantic Health System, who led the study. "Wearable trackers can be instrumental to one's journey to fitness, but it's truly the information that they convey about a person's progress that helps keep them on track in a rewarding direction."

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