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Fitbit tests wearables to improve metabolic health
- January 22, 2024
- Steve Rogerson
Fitbit is working with New Jersey-based Quest Diagnostics to study the potential of wearable devices to improve metabolic health, which influences risk of developing several diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.
The Wearables for Metabolic Health (Wear-Me) pilot study (blog.google/products/fitbit/new-quest-fitbit-study-metabolic-health) will pair behavioural and biometric data from Fitbit devices with health insights from Quest’s laboratory tests to explore ways data can be combined and analysed to improve the assessment and management of metabolic health and help prevent disease.
The study aims to evaluate the effect of wearables on users’ behaviour as assessed based on objective laboratory test results. While data show wearables can favourably influence users’ modifiable behaviour, such as diet, exercise and sleep, research on health outcomes by objective measures is less established.
“This study aligns with our goal at Quest to empower people to take control of their health, with convenient access to more than 75 lab tests with physician oversight, but without the doctor visit,” said Richard Adams, vice president at Quest, which includes the company’s consumer-initiated testing platform at questhealth.com. “By teaming up, Quest and Fitbit will harness laboratory testing to better understand the type of information that motivates people to make healthy choices that ultimately improve their health.”
The IRB approved study will invite approximately 1500 existing Fitbit (www.fitbit.com) users to join and consent to share three months of their Fitbit data. They will also be given the opportunity to receive laboratory testing at no cost using a panel of blood tests designed to assess metabolic health, including blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides. Study participants will sign up through the Google Health Studies app, where they will be prompted to schedule an appointment for a blood draw at a Quest patient service centre. A third-party physician will order tests for participants. In addition, participants will have direct access to their lab test results through the Google app and through Quest’s free MyQuest mobile app.
Poor metabolic health is a major risk factor for chronic diseases and serious health conditions including heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Metabolic health is assessed using several benchmarks including blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides. In a recent study that explored the prevalence and risk factors of metabolic health, prevalence of metabolic syndrome among participants was 63 per cent. Physical activity, a healthful diet and quality sleep can help reduce the risk of developing these conditions.
“Improving metabolic health is essential to prolong the time we stay healthy and disease free,” said Javier Prieto, principal investigator at Fitbit’s owner Google. “Metabolic health is influenced by many factors. We think this study will help us uncover how biometrics measured by wearables can help you understand your metabolic health. With that understanding you will be able to improve your health through better activity, sleep and dietary habits.”
The Wear-Me pilot study is expected to be completed this year.
Quest Diagnostics (www.QuestDiagnostics.com) empowers people to take action to improve health outcomes. Derived from the world’s largest database of clinical lab results, the diagnostic insights reveal avenues to identify and treat disease, inspire healthy behaviour and improve healthcare management. Quest annually serves one in three adult Americans and half the physicians and hospitals in the USA. It has nearly 50,000 employees.