Behavior Change, Chronic Condition Management, Health Systems | By | 03/16/21

New Study Shows Adding Fitbit Improves Diabetes Program Outcomes

A recent independent systematic review and meta-analysis revealed that health and wellness interventions that include Fitbit achieve better outcomes, including steps, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, and weight loss. These outcomes are key determinants in the prevention and management of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. Although it is reasonable to infer that Fitbit improves outcomes in these conditions based on improvements in health behavior determinants, it is important to explicitly prove it. Fortunately, a recent study specifically addressed the impact of Fitbit on type 2 diabetes management, including controlling cholesterol.

Health2Sync is the leading diabetes management app in Taiwan and Japan. In July of 2020, the Health2Sync team conducted a clinical trial with 95 participants in collaboration with four clinics in Taiwan. All of the participants were previously using the Health2Sync app, and their baseline fasting blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), and LDL cholesterol were established. They were then given a Fitbit Inspire HR, and they agreed to sync their Fitbit data with the Health2Sync platform. Their outcomes after three months were compared to baseline, and the impact was incredibly exciting. Fasting blood glucose decreased by 10.92 mg/dL on average, HbA1c decreased by 0.33 points on average (0.66 points in those who had at least 150 minutes of high-intensity activity per week), and LDL cholesterol decreased by 11.55 mg/dL on average. 

The ability to improve the outcomes of diabetes interventions like Health2Sync in only three months by adding a Fitbit device presents tremendous opportunity in addressing the diabetes epidemic and enhancing the impact of other diabetes interventions. It reinforces the importance of improving lifestyle factors in addition to managing medications and demonstrates how established interventions like Fitbit have an important role to play in improving healthcare outcomes. As Fitbit expands its capabilities to support users in improving activity, nutrition, sleep, and stress management, it is likely that its impact on chronic disease outcomes, including diabetes, will only multiply. These health behavior pillars are significant determinants in all chronic diseases, and they tend to be heavily matrixed, meaning that improving one tends to have impact on the others and improving more than one tends to have greater impact on the outcomes. As it pertains to diabetes, another exciting development is that U.S. Fitbit users can now track their blood glucose directly in the Fitbit app. The ability to draw connections between health behaviors and diabetes outcomes could contribute to even greater impact. Keep your eyes peeled for more evidence in the future.

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