Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

Fitbit says wearables data used by scientists 5/5 (2)
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Researchers have used data from its wearables in more than 200 health studies, amounting to 2 billion minutes, according to the company.

Researchers have used data from its wearables in more than 200 health studies, amounting to 2 billion minutes, according to the company.

Health tracking devices like the Fitbit have gained a loyal following in countries like Singapore.

Fitness junkies aside, researchers are using the device to gain insights on people’s health, according to the wearables giant.

Fitbit said that over the last four years, data from its wearables were used in more than 200 studies. This amounted to over 2 billion minutes.

One such study, which was published in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, equipped 51 overweight women with a Fitbit for most of a 16-week fitness routine. Researchers wanted to determine if the device kept participants on track.

Dr Kevin Patrick, a professor of family medicine and public health at UC San Diego said that wearables can help in the collection of research data. He plans to use the device in upcoming studies.

“The way we’d normally have to ask (for health information) is, you see people in the clinic every week or couple of weeks, (and) you ask them how they were,” Dr Patrick explained.

“When a wearable device like this simply just captures the number of steps they’re taking in a given day, that’s a pretty important parameter,” he added.

Still, the Fitbit remains a commercial product as it doesn’t meet the medical or scientific standards of the US Food and Drug Administration.

The company has not released its algorithms, or data that backs the accuracy of the Fitbit as it has claimed, BuzzFeed reported.

“We’re not there yet,” its CEO James Park said in April. “But we think five to 10 years down the line, the power of these devices to help consumers, healthcare providers, the whole healthcare ecosystem track and give diagnoses to people – I think it’s incredibly tantalising,” he added.

Visit BuzzFeed for the full report.

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