Activity Trackers and Health Education to Improve Employee Health Indices

Grant Winners

  • Jill Wallace-Ross, D.O. – College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Maria Vera Nunez, M.D. – College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Maria Isabel Fernandez, Ph.D. – College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Natalie Donn, M.S. – College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Kristine Freitas, B.S. – College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Jeffrey Cournoyer, ATC – College of Osteopathic Medicine

Dean

  • Elaine M. Wallace, D.O., M.S., M.S., M.S. – College of Osteopathic Medicine

Abstract

Activity Trackers and Health Education to Improve Employee Health Indices

Overweight and obesity are huge public health issues in the United States.  Sedentary lifestyles have been associated with increased risk of overweight and obesity. Efforts to promote more active life styles have not been as successful as they could have been.   Activity trackers, such as FitBits, are a technology that allows an individual to track the number of steps they take each day and have shown some evidence to help individuals to increase physical activity.  However, in a review of the research, the results are mixed.  Because of the sedentary nature of their work, University employees are at risk for overweight and obesity.  Use of an activity tracker may help this group to increase physical activity. 

The goal of this study is to examine the effects of using an activity tracker to increase physical activity on a sample of female employees in the Health Professions Divisions at Nova Southeastern University.  We will recruit 100 females who are between the ages of 40 and 60, with a body mass index measurement  ≥25 and <40 kg/m2, who don't already use an activity tracking device.  The groups will be randomly assigned to a control group that will simply wear and utilize the activity tracker, or to an intervention group, that will receive weekly health related education on the Blackboard learning platform.  Participants will be assessed at baseline for BMI and waist circumference, and then again at 16 weeks post intervention.  We will continue to retrieve information from the activity tracking device for 8 weeks after the interventions are completed to evaluate if the changes observed at week 16 are sustained.  We will then pursue further research into the use of activity trackers and various interventions to improve the health of university employees.