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Devices to monitor personal health: an opportunity for student research

fitbit ice cream beach me 2

Taunting my Fitbit

Inspired by David Sedaris’ tale in The New Yorker (he cheerfully combines healthy exercise with compulsive litter picking) I decided to invest in a Fitbit. This neat little wrist band has the facility to record the number of steps you take in any given day, as well as monitoring some aspects of sleep duration and quality.

Many people now use Fitbits to monitor their health, and use the companion website (and various apps and add-ons) to record dietary, drinking and other health behaviours. An Apple device that promises to record the same data and more is due out in spring 2015.

Health psychology trainees starting this autumn are well placed to design studies exploring the impact of Fitbit and other personal health monitoring devices. US users can already sign up to earn material rewards for their physical activity. If the same incentives were introduced in the UK, how effective might they be in motivating behaviour change? 

The Fitbit can only record a limited range of data at present, and users have to enter honestly any deviations from their planned dietary schedule.  If the Fitbit doesn’t know, do the calories still count 😉 ?

Carol P

 

Congratulations Chloe: First publication

Congratulations to our (very recent) graduate Chloe Patel who (as well as being due to graduate next week) has had her work published in the journal Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare. Chloe’s research was done in collaboration with Lou Atkinson and Ellinor Olander while she was on work experience with them at the Applied Research Centre in Health and Lifestyle Interventions. The study was an exploration of obese pregnant women’s views of being referred by their midwife to a weight management service. Chloe will be back to visit us soon as a guest speaker on our Professional Practice module.

Using apps in health psychology – meeting 21st November

Coventry University’s Health Psychology local interest group is hosting a guest talk and discussion on the use of (smartphone/tablet/web) apps in Health Psychology. This will include a presentation from Kristina Curtis about the development of her app for childhood obesity as well as a discussion of some of the key benefits and challenges to using apps.

This will be on 21st November at lunchtime (exact time and location to be confirmed shortly).

The meeting is being organised by Dr Naomi Bartle under the auspices of the Midlands Health Psychology Network Local Interest Group (MHPNLIG!)