Gamifying Accelerometer Use Increases Physical Activity Levels of Individuals Pre-Disposed to Type II Diabetes

Shelby L. Francis, Jacob E. Simmering, Linnea A. Polgreen, Nicholas J. Evans, Katie R. Hosteng, Lucas J. Carr, James F. Cremer, Sarah Coe, Joe E. Cavanaugh, Alberto M. Segre, Philip M. Polgreen
2021 Preventive medicine reports  
Physical activity is important for preventing obesity and diabetes, but most obese and pre-diabetic patients are not physically active. We developed a Fitbit-based game called MapTrek that promotes walking. We recruited obese and pre-diabetic patients. Half were randomly assigned to the control group and given a Fitbit alone. The others were given a Fitbit plus MapTrek. The MapTrek group participated in 6 months of weekly virtual races. Each week, participants were placed in a race with 9
more » ... a race with 9 others who achieved a similar number of steps in the previous week's race. Participants moved along the virtual route by the steps recorded on their Fitbit and received daily walking challenges via text message. Text messages also had links to the race map and leaderboard. We used a Bayesian mixed effects model to analyze the number of steps taken during the intervention. A total of 192 (89%) participants in the control group and 196 (91%) in the MapTrek group were included in the analyses. MapTrek significantly increased step counts when it began: MapTrek participants walked almost 1,700 steps more than the control group on the first day of the intervention. We estimate that there is a 97% probability that the effect of MapTrek is at least 1,000 additional steps per day throughout the course of the 6-month intervention and that MapTrek participants would have walked an additional 81 miles, on average, before the effect ended. Our MapTrek intervention led to significant extra walking by the MapTrek participants.
doi:10.1016/j.pmedr.2021.101426 pmid:34178586 pmcid:PMC8209749 fatcat:xlranq3a5zctnau4j25c2tdngi