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National physical activity surveillance: Users of wearable activity monitors as a potential data source

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    Prev Med Rep
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    The objective of this study was to assess usage patterns of wearable activity monitors among US adults and how user characteristics might influence physical activity estimates from this type of sample. We analyzed data on 3367 respondents to the 2015 HealthStyles survey, an annual consumer mail panel survey conducted on a nationwide sample. Approximately 1 in 8 respondents (12.5%) reported currently using a wearable activity monitor. Current use varied by sex, age, and education level. Use increased with physical activity level from 4.3% for inactive adults to 17.4% for active adults. Overall, 49.9% of all adults met the aerobic physical activity guideline, while this prevalence was 69.5% among current activity monitor users. Our findings suggest that current users of wearable activity monitors are not representative of the overall US population. Estimates of physical activity levels using data from wearable activity monitors users may be an overestimate and therefore data from users alone may have a limited role in physical activity surveillance.
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