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Five Year Pediatric Use of a Digital Wearable Fitness Device: Lessons from a Pilot Case Study

By Kimayani D. Butte, Amir Bahmani, Atul J Butte, Xiao Li, Michael Snyder

Posted 26 Oct 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.10.21.20215491

ObjectivesWearable fitness devices are increasingly used by the general population, with new applications being proposed and designed for healthy adults as well as adults with chronic diseases. Fewer, if any, studies of these devices have been conducted in healthy adolescents and teenagers, especially over a long period of time. The goal of this work was to document the successes and challenges involved in 5 years of a wearable fitness device use in a pediatric case study. Materials and MethodsComparison of five years of step counts and minutes asleep from a teenaged girl and her father. ResultsAt 60 months, this may be the longest reported pediatric study involving a wearable fitness device, and the first simultaneously involving a parent and a child. We find step counts to be significantly higher for both the adult and teen on school/work days, along with less sleep. The teen walked significantly less towards the end of the 5 year study. Surprisingly, many of the adults and teens sleeping and step counts were correlated, possibly due to coordinated behaviors. DiscussionWe end with several recommendations for pediatricians and device manufacturers, including the need for constant adjustments of stride length and calorie counts as teens are growing. ConclusionWith periodic adjustments for growth, this pilot study shows these devices can be used for more accurate and consistent measurements in adolescents and teenagers over longer periods of time, to potentially promote healthy behaviors.

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