Patients with diabetes and cardiovascular disease.who used wearable...
Patients with diabetes and cardiovascular disease.who used wearable step-counting devices have shown small-to-medium improvements in physical activity.

Activity trackers help manage diabetes

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 (CVD).

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 CVD. They found the devices were associated with small-to-medium improvements in physical activity.

Results from previous studies have shown that the use of pedometers helps patients 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’.”

On average, the use of movement tracking devices increased the levels of physical activity among participants by around 1,700 steps a day. This number was greater when the use of pedometers and accelerometers was combined with regular face-to-face consultations with health professionals.

Commenting on the results, Dr Hodkinson, said; “Receiving feedback and support by healthcare professionals, even if this is brief and through telephone, internet, or apps, is critical for ensuring that patients achieve the greatest benefits by using these devices. Premature deaths could potentially be prevented by addressing very low levels of physical activity, more than any other risk factor such as smoking, alcohol or stress-related illnesses.” However, Dr Hodkinson notes that, while encouraging, these results “remain below the targets set by clinical recommendations such as NICE”.

Around 3.3 million people in the UK have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the authors note, and many of them experience additional conditions such as raised blood pressure, and a heightened risk of developing thrombosis or CVD. The increasing prevalence of these conditions is estimated to account for over 20% of the NHS budget in the next 20 years.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Related articles

Sense Glucose Earring for managing diabetes

Sense Glucose Earring for managing diabetes

A product design graduate has developed a discreet item of wearable technology that monitors blood sugar levels and delivers feedback in real-time.

Wearable sensor tracks biochemical data

Wearable sensor tracks biochemical data

Scientist are developing a patch that monitors the sweat of high performance athletes for medical information.

Smart wristband monitors heart rates and physical activity

Smart wristband monitors heart rates and physical activity

Engineers have created biosensor technology with a wireless connection to smartphones that will enable a new wave of personal health.

Sticker detects cystic fibrosis in newborn's sweat

Sticker detects cystic fibrosis in newborn's sweat

Researchers have developed a novel skin-mounted sticker that absorbs sweat and then changes color to provide an accurate, easy-to-read diagnosis of cystic fibrosis within minutes.

Harvesting energy from radio waves to power wearables

Harvesting energy from radio waves to power wearables

Researchers have developed a way to harvest energy from radio waves to power wearable devices.

Hearables: How to make headphones intelligent

Hearables: How to make headphones intelligent

Engineers have invented a cheap and easy way by transforming headphones into sensors that can be plugged into smartphones to monitor users heart rates.

From the wrist into the ear – the potential of hearables

From the wrist into the ear – the potential of hearables

A subset of wearables are the so-called hearables – in-ear devices that are well suited for long-term monitoring as they are non-invasive, inconspicuous and easy to fasten.

Monitoring your ZZZs - how sleep trackers perform

Monitoring your ZZZs - how sleep trackers perform

Researchers tested the efficacy of eight commercial sleep trackers. The result: you snooze, you lose – at least with with some of them.

Using wearables to keep babies healthy

Using wearables to keep babies healthy

Researchers at the WVU School of Medicine explored how a wearable device called WHOOP could be used to monitor pregnant women’s resting heart rate and heart rate variability.

Popular articles

Subscribe to Newsletter