Fitbit most-used activity monitor in biomedical research, study finds

Fitbits are the most common consumer physical activity monitor used in biomedical studies, according to a study led by Stephen P. Wright, PhD, a medical researcher at Washington, D.C.-based Georgetown University.

Dr. Wright and his team conducted a literature review of biomedical research, clinical trials and NIH grants that used consumer physical activity monitors. The researchers, who published their findings in The FASEB Journal, determined Fitbits were used in 89 percent of published research, 83 percent of clinical trials and 95 percent of NIH-funded research, compared to other devices from Apple, Garmin and Nike, among other developers.

The most common reason for using Fitbit devices in biomedical research was to measure physical activity or biomarkers of health, such as blood pressure or fasting glucose. In clinical trials, the most common issues researchers studied with activity monitors were mental or brain conditions and body weight.

"The current state and potential growth of the consumer monitor technology is transforming biomedical research, and is enabling us to ask new and more granular questions about physical activity in health and disease," the researchers concluded.

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