How Effective are Activity Trackers?

girl using Fitbit fitness watch
Activity trackers, such as Fitbit, Fuelband, and Jawbone, allow users to monitor their health and fitness data with ease, thanks to wireless technology. Increasing use of these wearables has generated interest from researchers who are keen to assess if such devices are indeed effective in helping people lead healthier lives.

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A new report published in the journal Significance notes that the traditional randomised trial designs used in health and medicine may not be applicable to mobile health. Hence, use of “micro-randomised trials” as an alternative is suggested by authors of the report.

In micro-randomised trials, participants are randomly assigned a treatment from the set of possible treatment actions at several times throughout the day. Therefore, each participant may be randomised hundreds or thousands of times over the course of a study, according to Susan Murphy, PhD, senior author of the journal report.

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“These trials will provide evidence regarding in which real-time settings wearable devices should provide treatments to help you and me, and in which settings these treatments will only aggravate us,” explains Dr. Murphy, H.E. Robbins Distinguished University Professor of Statistics, professor of psychiatry, and research professor, Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.

Source: Wiley
Image credit: Flickr.com

References:

Murphy SA et al. (2015) Randomised trials for the Fitbit generation. Significance, 12: 20–23. Published online 10 Dec 2015. doi: 10.1111/j.1740-9713.2015.00863.x

Published on : Thu, 31 Dec 2015


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healthmanagement, mobile technology, activity trackers, wearables, wireless, micro-randomised trial A new report published in the journal Significance notes that the traditional randomised trial designs used in health and medicine may not be applicable to mobile health. Hence, use of “micro-randomised trials” as an alternative is suggested by authors

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