Chronic Condition Management, Health Research, Health Systems, Partners, Personal Health Technology, Researchers | By | 08/04/23

Walk this Way

Take steps toward better health with the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) All of Us Research Program

When it comes to taking steps to improve your overall health, is there a magic number? An easy rule of thumb says to aim for 10,000 for optimal health. Want to get more specific? Recent research using All of Us data says 8,200 steps might do the trick to avoid certain health conditions.

In this study, researchers linked data from personal Fitbit devices with data from the electronic health records (EHRs) of 6,042 All of Us participants. They found that taking at least 8,200 daily steps was associated with a lower risk for chronic conditions like high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. The study also uncovered new links between daily steps and lower risk for sleep apnea, depression, and acid reflux.

This research, which was published in the journal Nature Medicine, is just one of more than 1,400 studies using Fitbit data from the All of Us Researcher Workbench. A historic effort by the NIH to enroll one million or more participants from diverse populations across the United States, All of Us is working toward a healthier future for all by providing researchers with the information they need to better understand what makes us sick and what keeps us healthy. All of Us is creating one of the largest, most diverse databases of its kind broadly available for research use. This research could help uncover patterns and drive insights into personalized medicine that may lead to future medical breakthroughs.

Five Years Strong – and Growing

In May, All of Us celebrated its 5th anniversary. What started out in 2018 with an ambitious goal of transforming the future of health through research has spent the past five years making great strides toward that goal. As of the end of May, All of Us researchers have been empowered by data from more than 413,000 participants representing all corners of the country; 75% are from participants who identify with communities underrepresented in medical research, and about 45% self-identify as a racial or ethnic minority. These numbers are significantly improving health equity. It is only when all communities are represented in research that we can understand the impact on specific communities.

The Power of Partnership and Participation

Thanks to a partnership with Fitbit, some All of Us participants have the opportunity to be part of the All of Us WEAR Study, which provides a new Fitbit device to select participants free of charge. The Fitbit device passively collects data throughout the day – from resting heart rate to activity information – and shares that data with All of Us to be used by researchers. This data, which is collected as people go about their day, is important as researchers try to understand how activity and lifestyle behavior affect health. To date, the program has collected data from more than 15,600 Fitbit records; data may include physical activity, step counts, heart rate, and sleep data.

But that’s not all. WEAR is only one of the many ways participants can contribute data to All of Us. By joining the program, you can also share valuable data through a series of surveys, by connecting your EHRs, and by donating biosamples like blood, urine, or saliva.

“While All of Us has created the largest, most inclusive resource of its kind, there’s much more work to do,” says Julia Moore Vogel, PhD, MBA, program director of The Participant Center at All of Us. “Participation is powerful – the power is in your hands to enable researchers to learn more about health and transform the future of personalized medicine.”

Learn more and join today.

Author: Christina Orlovsky
Organization: This blog is brought to you by the All of Us Research Program and Scripps Research, funded by the National Institutes of Health award OT2OD035580.

All of Us is a registered service mark of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).

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