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The Effect of Fitbit Technology on Physical Activity in Inactive Adults (50+ Years of Age): 1455 Board #248 May 28, 900 AM - 1030 AM

Vasold, Kerri L.; Groendal, Elizabeth G.; Knous, Jeremy L.

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2015 - Volume 47 - Issue 5S - p 392
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000477498.28113.b3
C-39 Free Communication/Poster - Physical Activity Promotion Programming in Adults Thursday, May 28, 2015, 7:30 AM - 12:30 PM Room: Exhibit Hall F

1 Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. 2 Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI. 3Saginaw Valley State University, Saginaw, MI.

(No relationships reported)

The Fitbit tracker is a wearable technology designed to motivate individuals to become physically active by increasing awareness of physical activity (PA) levels. The Fitbit tracks activity, sleep, nutrition, uploads wirelessly, and is tiny and discreet. Published data is limited concerning the effectiveness of Fitbit technology on increasing PA levels in inactive adult populations.

PURPOSE: To study changes in PA as a result of wearing the Fitbit for 8 weeks in individuals 50+ years of age.

METHODS: Sixty university employees were stratified into two groups, intervention (n=29) and comparison (n=31), based on meeting PA recommendations of 150 minutes per week. Of these employees, 18 were ages 50 and over (7 intervention; 11 comparison). Intervention group participants (not meeting ACSM PA recommendations) were given a Fitbit to wear for 8 weeks, while comparison group participants were not and were encouraged to maintain their current PA habits. Demographic, anthropometric, and biometric data, body composition, flexibility, muscular strength/endurance, and cardiorespiratory fitness were assessed prior to and following the intervention. Self-reported PA was assessed via online survey. Independent sample T-tests were used to analyze differences between intervention and control groups. Paired sample T-tests were used to analyze differences pre- and post-Fitbit intervention.

RESULTS: Mean age, weight, and BMI for the adult (50+) cohort of the sample was 58±5 years, 172±27 pounds, and 28.8±3.8 kg/m2, respectively. There were no significant differences between intervention and control groups at pre-test despite a large difference in self-reported PA (intervention: 70 minutes, comparison: 399 minutes). There was a positive change in self-reported PA in the intervention group from pre- to post-intervention that trended towards significance (p=0.08). Six out of seven of the intervention group participants were meeting PA recommendations post-intervention.

CONCLUSIONS: Based on these results, wearing the Fitbit for 8 weeks increased PA in inactive adults (50+) to the point of meeting/exceeding PA recommendations. Further research is needed to determine the levels of improvement for this older adult population using this technology.

© 2015 American College of Sports Medicine