Background: To date, it is unclear if consumer wearable activity trackers (CWATs), with or without behaviour multi-component strategies, effectively improve adherence to physical activity and health outcomes under free living conditions in populations with chronic diseases. Therefore, we systematically evaluated the efficacy of CWAT-based interventions to promote physical activity levels and cardiometabolic health in populations with chronic diseases.
Methods: Randomised controlled trials were collected from five bibliographic databases (PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and CINAHL). Studies were eligible for inclusion if they evaluated a CWAT-based counselling intervention versus control intervention among patients with chronic respiratory diseases, type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, overweight/obesity, cognitive disorders, or sedentary older adults. Data were pooled using a random-effects model.
Results: After deduplication 8147 were identified of which 35 studies met inclusion criteria (chronic respiratory diseases: 7, type 2 diabetes mellitus: 12, cardiovascular diseases: 6, overweight/obesity: 3, cognitive disorders: 1, sedentary older adults: 6). Compared to control groups, CWAT-based interventions significantly increased physical activity by 2123 steps per day (95% confidence interval [CI], [1605–2641]; p < 0.001). In addition, CWAT-based interventions in these populations significantly decreased systolic blood pressure (− 3.79 mm Hg; 95% CI: [− 4.53, − 3.04] mm Hg; p < 0.001), waist circumference (− 0.99 cm; 95% CI: [− 1.48, − 0.50] cm; p < 0.001) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration (− 5.70 mg/dl; 95% CI: [− 9.24, − 2.15] mg/dl; p = 0.002).
Conclusion: CWAT-based interventions increase physical activity and have beneficial effects on important health-related outcomes such as systolic blood pressure, waist circumference and LDL cholesterol concentration in patients with chronic diseases.