A Review of Activity Trackers for Senior Citizens: Research Perspectives, Commercial Landscape and the Role of the Insurance Industry

2017 Sensors  
Type of publication Article ( non peer-reviewed) Link to publisher's version http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/s17061277 Access to the full text of the published version may require a subscription. Rights © 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Item downloaded
more » ... http://hdl.handle.net/10468/4058 Downloaded on 2018-12-05T10:42:26Z sensors Abstract: The objective assessment of physical activity levels through wearable inertial-based motion detectors for the automatic, continuous and long-term monitoring of people in free-living environments is a well-known research area in the literature. However, their application to older adults can present particular constraints. This paper reviews the adoption of wearable devices in senior citizens by describing various researches for monitoring physical activity indicators, such as energy expenditure, posture transitions, activity classification, fall detection and prediction, gait and balance analysis, also by adopting consumer-grade fitness trackers with the associated limitations regarding acceptability. This review also describes and compares existing commercial products encompassing activity trackers tailored for older adults, thus providing a comprehensive outlook of the status of commercially available motion tracking systems. Finally, the impact of wearable devices on life and health insurance companies, with a description of the potential benefits for the industry and the wearables market, was analyzed as an example of the potential emerging market drivers for such technology in the future. Sedentary behaviour, defined as "any waking behaviour in a sitting or reclining posture with an energy expenditure ≤1.5 metabolic equivalent (MET)" [8], is a dominant behaviour nowadays which is connected to a high risk of developing chronic disease. Physical activity, instead, is defined as "any body movement produced by the skeletal muscles that results in a substantial increase over resting energy expenditure" [9] . Its benefits in preventing chronic disease are currently well-known and it is generally categorized into light intensity (2 to 3 METs), moderate (3 to 6 METs) and vigorous (>6 METs). Generally, a parameter provided to indicate the amount of physical activity performed during the day is the number of steps taken. Step counting on its own, however, does not measure the intensity, duration or frequency of physical activity, which, additionally, does not allow the evaluation of physical activity patterns within or across days. However, it has been also reported that the amount of time spent sedentary may be an important health risk factor for all-cause mortality, independent of physical activity levels [10] .This conclusion suggests to focus on both the accumulation of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, the reduction of sitting times, and the importance of sedentary/physical activity distribution throughout the waking hours. It is thus essential to estimate accurately the amount of time spent in a sedentary activity, its classification, and its distribution throughout the day. Typical sedentary activities involve lying, sitting, and standing, which can be distinguished by observing the different characteristics of the body segments. Moreover, postural transitions (and, in particular, sit-stand transitions) can be specific indicators to assess the quality of life of people with mobility problems. On the other side, general daily activities of interest may encompass walking, running, ascending and descending flights of stairs, etc. . . . However, greater attention is currently focussed on fine-grained classification by considering more granular daily movements, such as reading, socializing, watching TV, or playing video games (as per sedentary behaviour), and brushing teeth, dressing/undressing, taking medication, preparing breakfast, house-cleaning, plant watering, or clothes folding for what concerns daily activities.
doi:10.3390/s17061277 pmid:28587188 pmcid:PMC5492436 fatcat:ug2lw54bqzcv3dtqhfshmcg3ja