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Monitoring and managing lifestyle behaviours using wearable activity trackers: a mixed methods study of views from the Huntington's disease community

Morgan-Jones, Philippa ORCID:, Jones, Anabelle, Busse, Monica ORCID:, Mills, Laura, Pallmann, Philip ORCID:, Drew, Cheney ORCID:, Arnesen, Astri and Wood, Fiona ORCID: 2022. Monitoring and managing lifestyle behaviours using wearable activity trackers: a mixed methods study of views from the Huntington's disease community. JMIR Formative Research 6 (6) , e36870. 10.2196/36870

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Background: There are early indications that lifestyle behaviors, specifically physical activity and sleep, may be associated with the onset and progression of Huntington disease (HD). Wearable activity trackers offer an exciting opportunity to collect long-term activity data to further investigate the role of lifestyle, physical activity, and sleep in disease modification. Given how wearable devices rely on user acceptance and long-term adoption, it is important to understand users’ perspectives on how acceptable any device might be and how users might engage over the longer term. Objective: This study aimed to explore the perceptions, motivators, and potential barriers relating to the adoption of wearable activity trackers by people with HD for monitoring and managing their lifestyle and sleep. This information intended to guide the selection of wearable activity trackers for use in a longitudinal observational clinical study. Methods: We conducted a mixed methods study; this allowed us to draw on the potential strengths of both quantitative and qualitative methods. Opportunistic participant recruitment occurred at 4 Huntington’s Disease Association meetings, including 1 international meeting and 3 United Kingdom–based regional meetings. Individuals with HD, their family members, and carers were invited to complete a user acceptance questionnaire and participate in a focus group discussion. The questionnaire consisted of 35 items across 8 domains using a 0 to 4 Likert scale, along with some additional demographic questions. Average questionnaire responses were recorded as positive (score>2.5), negative (score<1.5), or neutral (score between 1.5 and 2.5) opinions for each domain. Differences owing to demographics were explored using the Kruskal-Wallis and Wilcoxon rank sum tests. Focus group discussions (conducted in English) were driven by a topic guide, a vignette scenario, and an item ranking exercise. The discussions were audio recorded and then analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: A total of 105 completed questionnaires were analyzed (47 people with HD and 58 family members or carers). All sections of the questionnaire produced median scores >2.5, indicating a tendency toward positive opinions on wearable activity trackers, such as the devices being advantageous, easy and enjoyable to use, and compatible with lifestyle and users being able to understand the information from trackers and willing to wear them. People with HD reported a more positive attitude toward wearable activity trackers than their family members or caregivers (P=.02). A total of 15 participants participated in 3 focus groups. Device compatibility and accuracy, data security, impact on relationships, and the ability to monitor and self-manage lifestyle behaviors have emerged as important considerations in device use and user preferences.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Centre for Trials Research (CNTRR)
Additional Information: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Formative Research, is properly cited.
Publisher: JMIR Publications
ISSN: 2561-326X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 19 May 2022
Date of Acceptance: 18 May 2022
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2023 21:18

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