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Feasibility and acceptability of remotely monitored pedometer-guided physical activity

Department of Anaesthesia and Pain Management, Royal Melbourne Hospital Anaesthesia, Perioperative and Pain Medicine Unit, Melbourne Medical School, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria


Nearly 70% of the Australian adult population are either sedentary, or have low levels of physical activity. There has been interest in addressing this problem by the 'mHealth', or mobile Health, arena, which is concerned with the confluence of mobile technology and health promotion. The newer generation of activity pedometers has the ability to automatically upload information, to enable aggregation and meta-data analysis of individual patient data. We conducted a ten-week pilot trial of the Fitbit Zip® pedometer using a validated tool in ten volunteers, finding it highly acceptable to both participants and investigators. Data synching was ranked as 'very easy' or 'easy' by all participants, and investigators could successfully monitor activity levels remotely. Median (interquartile range) daily step counts of participants over the ten-week trial ranged from 5471 (4591–7026) to 18779 (15031–21505) steps. Sedentary time over the study period ranged from 1.4% to 33.3% of study days. Percentage of days reaching the target activity level of >10,000 steps/day varied markedly between participants from 4.5% to 95.7%. This study demonstrates the feasibility and acceptability of a remotely monitored pedometer-guided physical activity intervention. This technology may be useful to encourage increased exercise as a form of 'prehabilitation' of adequately screened at-risk surgical or obstetric patients.

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