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80% of Activity Tracker Users Stick With Gadgets For at Least Six Months

The study suggests that these new technologies could be a good means of motivating older and lower-income populations to get more active.

AFP Relaxnews

Updated:September 28, 2017, 11:12 AM IST
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80% of Activity Tracker Users Stick With Gadgets For at Least Six Months
80% of activity tracker users stick with their devices for at least six months. (Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ dolgachov/ Istock.com)
Are activity trackers and smartwatches a sustainable solution for boosting motivation to exercise? Researchers in the USA studied user engagement levels with the digital devices, sales of which reached 19.7 million worldwide in 2016.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, USA, analyzed data from 2014-2015 for subscribers of a national health and wellness organization.

They found that while overall activity tracker use was 1.2%, it was nearly double among younger people, at 2.8% to 3.1%. On the other hand, only 0.1% of people aged over 65 activated a device.

The majority of participants (76%) used Fitbit trackers -- the wearables market leader -- and Apple devices were the next most common among participants (9%). The study also found that most of the particiapnts who started using activity trackers were younger and had higher incomes than those who chose not to use them.

The results showed that 80% of people who started using an activity tracker or a smartwatch stuck with the device for at least six months. However, of the 0.1% of older participants (over 65s) who activated a device, 90% were still using it six months later.

In conclusion, the authors suggest that these new technologies could be a good means of motivating older and lower-income populations to get more active, but that more targeted engagement strategies may be required.

The study is published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

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