Background: Fitness trackers have the potential to promote behaviour change by providing users a simple way to self-monitor their physical activity (PA). However, little is known about individuals daily engagement with fitness trackers. This work examines daily PA patterns throughout a diabetes prevention program (DPP).
Methods: Participants met with a health coach online for 6 behaviour change counselling sessions over 4 weeks and were provided with a Fitbit branded fitness tracker to monitor their daily PA. Daily steps, active and sedentary minutes were recorded for each participant over the 4-week intervention.
Results: n = 17 Participants (mean 63 years old, 82% female) were included. Adherence to Fitbit wear was high with a mean of 98% of wear days over the 4-week intervention period. In week 1, participants averaged 7316 steps/day, 41 active mins/day, and 939 sedentary mins/day. In week 2, participants averaged 7229 steps/day, 40.22 active mins/day, and 947 sedentary mins/day. In week 3 participants averaged 6989 steps/day, 41 active mins/day, and 927 sedentary mins/day. Finally, in week 4, participants averaged 7555 steps/day, 39 active mins/day, and 934 sedentary mins/day.
Conclusions: The sustained engagement with the Fitbit over the 4-week period indicates that commercially available self-monitoring devices are feasible for older adults and have considerable potential to enhance PA within DPPs. Further research is needed to determine how to optimally use this daily PA data within coaching sessions to motivate additional gains in PA behaviours, and evaluate the long-term utility of fitness trackers within DPPs.