The influence of a consumer-wearable activity tracker on sedentary time and prolonged sedentary bouts: secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial

BMC Res Notes. 2018 Mar 22;11(1):189. doi: 10.1186/s13104-018-3306-9.


Objective: A recent meta-analysis surmised pedometers were a useful panacea to independently reduce sedentary time (ST). To further test and expand on this deduction, we analyzed the ability of a consumer-wearable activity tracker to reduce ST and prolonged sedentary bouts (PSB). We originally conducted a 12-month randomized control trial where 800 employees from 13 organizations were assigned to control, activity tracker, or one of two activity tracker plus incentive groups designed to increase step count. The primary outcome was accelerometer measured moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

Results: We conducted a secondary analysis on accelerometer measured daily ST and PSB bouts. A general linear mixed model was used to examine changes in ST and prolonged sedentary bouts, followed by between-group pairwise comparisons. Regression analyses were conducted to examine the association of changes in step counts with ST and PSB. The changes in ST and PSB were not statistically significant and not different between the groups (P < 0.05). Increases in step counts were concomitantly associated with decreases in ST and PSB, regardless of intervention (P < 0.05). Caution should be taken when considering consumer-wearable activity trackers as a means to reduce sedentary behavior. Trial registration NCT01855776 Registered: August 8, 2012.

Keywords: Consumer-wearable activity tracker; Fitbit; Prolonged sedentary bouts; Secondary analysis of an RCT; Sedentary behavior; Sedentary time.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry / instrumentation*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fitness Trackers*
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult

Associated data