First-of-its-kind study in Thailand assesses if wearable tech promotes physical activity

Global research targets improving the health of Thai people with diabetes

March 26, 2020

One woman talking to three other women in a medical room, two women are in scrubs

A global research partnership between University of Minnesota School of Nursing Assistant Professor Erica Schorr, PhD, RN, and Mahidol University Assistant Professor Wantana Maneesriwongul, DNSc, MPH, RN, seeks to understand the feasibility of a study using a wearable device to examine the relationship of physical activity, sedentary time and glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes in Thailand.

“Our research team is excited to work together to assess the feasibility of applying available technology to enhance the health of the local people,” said Maneesriwongul.

The study will evaluate the feasibility of using a wearable activity-tracking device, specifically the Xiaomi Amazfit Bip, to measure physical activity and sedentary time continuously for four weeks among adults in Bangkok, Thailand with diabetes. The study also aims to understand wearable activity-tracking devices from the perspective of the user to inform future physical activity interventions.

“There is widespread interest in fitness tracking devices in Thailand, but they have not been tested and utilized for health promotion purposes. To our knowledge, no one has tried to use them to improve or change health behavior,” said Schorr. “This study is a starting point for the implementation of physical activity interventions to prevent the development of cardiovascular disease in patients with diabetes who are at an elevated risk.”

The pilot study was awarded a grant from the University of Minnesota’s Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility.

The results of the pilot study will help shape the design and implementation of a large randomized controlled trial focused on primary cardiovascular disease prevention that compares physical activity, sedentary time and glycemic control among those who use the activity-tracking device to monitor and regulate physical activity with those who rely on self-evaluation.

Categories: Research