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Open Access The Effect of Wearable Activity Monitor Presence on Step Counts

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This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND licence.

Objective: In this study, we tested the effect of wearable activity monitors and tracking on physical activity over 2 weeks. Methods: Ninety young adults participated. Prior to initiation of the study, each participant was asked to download an iPhone app that tracked physical activity level (step counts) but were not told the app's purpose. Each participant was then randomly assigned to one of 3 groups (N=30/group): (1) measurement awareness, (2) measurement awareness+track/record, or (3) control. Participants in the measurement awareness and the measurement awareness+track/record groups were given a pedometer to wear for 2 weeks. Additionally, participants in the measurement awareness+track/ record group were instructed to record daily steps and submit their record after 2 weeks. Participants in the control group were not given a pedometer band nor asked track steps. Results: Neither the measurement awareness group nor the measurement awareness+track/record group were statistically different than controls during the intervention (p>.05). However, collapsing the intervention groups and comparing to the control group resulted in a 388.3 (SE=-186.9) higher daily step count during the intervention (p<.05). Conclusion: Wearable monitors modestly increases daily step count. However, the addition of recording daily step counts does not appear to provide an additional benefit in our study.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, United States;, Email: [email protected] 2: Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, United States

Publication date: September 1, 2022

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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