Exploring the use of Fitbit consumer activity trackers to support active lifestyles in adults with type 2 diabetes : a mixed methods study

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2020
Thesis identifier
  • T16042
Person Identifier (Local)
  • 202057454
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • Background - Globally 374 million people are living with type 2 diabetes and numbers are increasing. Generally, people with type 2 diabetes are less active than those without the condition. Physical activity promotion within diabetes health care is limited and challenging for staff. Fitbit activity trackers are a valid and reliable method of measuring physical activity. Combining physical activity behaviour change interventions with Fitbit trackers has been successful in increasing activity levels of patients. Aim - To explore the use of Fitbit consumer activity trackers to support active lifestyles in adults with Type 2 Diabetes through a mixed methods study. Methods - A two-stage analysis was conducted. In stage one adults with type 2 diabetes used a Fitbit Charge 4 for 4-weeks and their activity recorded. Objective Fitbit and subjective self-reported physical activity data was examined through quantitative analysis. The International Physical Activity Questionnaire (short version) was used to collect self-reported physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Follow-up qualitative analysis was conducted to explore the experiences of participants. In stage two health care and fitness professionals were interviewed to examine their thoughts of using Fitbit activity trackers within type 2 diabetes health care. Results/Findings - Adults with type 2 diabetes were recruited for stage one and adult health care and fitness professionals were recruited for stage 2. Stage one participants self-reported increases in physical activity (mean weekly minutes of walking increased from 358.75 mins to 507.50 mins, p=.046) and a decrease in sedentary behaviour (mean daily hours of sedentary behaviour decreased from 10.65 hours to 10.05 hours, p=.575). Fitbit activity data ranges identified individuals who led inactive and sedentary lifestyles below levels recommended and in need of physical activity support to reduce the risk to their health. During interviews participants stated that the Fitbit activity tracker motivated them to be more active. Stage two participants intimated that Fitbit activity trackers could improve the promotion of physical activity within type 2 diabetes care. The use of interventions involving the Fitbit premium service, community prescription and combined use of Fitbits with physical activity behaviour change models were recommended. Conclusion - This study found that there is future scope for using Fitbit activity trackers to support active lifestyles in adults diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Advisor / supervisor
  • Kirk, Alison
Resource Type
Embargo Note
  • This thesis is restricted to Strathclyde users only.