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Feasibility and effectiveness of using wearable activity trackers in youth: a systematic review

Ridgers, Nicola D., McNarry, Melitta A. and Mackintosh, Kelly A. 2016, Feasibility and effectiveness of using wearable activity trackers in youth: a systematic review, JMIR Mhealth and Uhealth, vol. 4, no. 4, Article Number : e129, pp. 1-12, doi: 10.2196/mhealth.6540.

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Title Feasibility and effectiveness of using wearable activity trackers in youth: a systematic review
Author(s) Ridgers, Nicola D.ORCID iD for Ridgers, Nicola D. orcid.org/0000-0001-5713-3515
McNarry, Melitta A.
Mackintosh, Kelly A.
Journal name JMIR Mhealth and Uhealth
Volume number 4
Issue number 4
Season Article Number : e129
Start page 1
End page 12
Total pages 12
Publisher JMIR Publications
Place of publication Toronto, Ont.
Publication date 2016-10
ISSN 2291-5222
Keyword(s) behaviour change
electronic activity monitor
mHealth
physical activity
Summary BACKGROUND: The proliferation and popularity of wearable activity trackers (eg, Fitbit, Jawbone, Misfit) may present an opportunity to integrate such technology into physical activity interventions. While several systematic reviews have reported intervention effects of using wearable activity trackers on adults' physical activity levels, none to date have focused specifically on children and adolescents.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this review was to examine the effectiveness of wearable activity trackers as a tool for increasing children's and adolescents' physical activity levels. We also examined the feasibility of using such technology in younger populations (age range 5-19 years).

METHODS: We conducted a systematic search of 5 electronic databases, reference lists, and personal archives to identify articles published up until August 2016 that met the inclusion criteria. Articles were included if they (1) specifically examined the use of a wearable device within an intervention or a feasibility study; (2) included participants aged 5-19 years old; (3) had a measure of physical activity as an outcome variable for intervention studies; (4) reported process data concerning the feasibility of the device in feasibility studies; and (5) were published in English. Data were analyzed in August 2016.

RESULTS: In total, we identified and analyzed 5 studies (3 intervention, 2 feasibility). Intervention delivery ranged from 19 days to 3 months, with only 1 study using a randomized controlled trial design. Wearable activity trackers were typically combined with other intervention approaches such as goal setting and researcher feedback. While intervention effects were generally positive, the reported differences were largely nonsignificant. The feasibility studies indicated that monitor comfort and design and feedback features were important factors to children and adolescents.

CONCLUSIONS: There is a paucity of research concerning the effectiveness and feasibility of wearable activity trackers as a tool for increasing children's and adolescents' physical activity levels. While there are some preliminary data to suggest these devices may have the potential to increase activity levels through self-monitoring and goal setting in the short term, more research is needed to establish longer-term effects on behavior.
Language eng
DOI 10.2196/mhealth.6540
Field of Research 110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30090519

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.