Objective: The purpose of this pilot study was to determine feasibility and usefulness of integrating a fitness tracker (device for self-monitoring physical activity) coupled with a software program viewable by the clinician into virtual clinical interactions.
Methods: Adolescents with obesity (BMI >95th percentile) treated at a weight management clinic used a fitness tracker and associated phone application (app) to self-monitor physical activity for 4 weeks. We developed a parent guide with instructions for use of the device and app, and assisted participants with device set-up and app installation. Participants received weekly follow-up coaching from a clinical health educator via telemedicine during weeks 1 - 4 and a post-survey was conducted at week 5. Weight and height were measured at baseline and endline and BMI was calculated as kg/m2.
Results: Ten participants (6 girls and 4 boys, ages 13-17 years) wore the device for 28 days and completed weekly telemedicine visits (38 of 40 visits completed). Eight participants had up to 2 missed wear days (days with less than 1,000 steps), and 2 participants had 6 to 11 missed days. Two participants increased their weekly activity level over time, while 8 participants stayed the same or decreased. All participants reported an overall positive experience, plan to continue using the device, and agreed that sharing and discussing the information with the clinical health educator was beneficial. Eight out of ten participants improved weight and BMI from baseline to end of study.
Conclusions: The use of a fitness tracker by adolescents with obesity and telemedicine visits and device-monitoring software by a clinician to track and provide feedback on physical activity was feasible and positively received by the adolescents.
Vu, Thien-Dang N.; Patricia Roldan; Sarah G. Sanders; Bernard A. Mensah; Elizabeth Y. Jimenez; Alberta S. Kong; and Monique K. Vallabhan. "Pilot study to assess feasibility of using a fitness tracker device and monitoring system to support clinical weight management via telemedicine contacts in adolescents." (2022). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/hsc_2022_pediatric_research/19