Consumer physical activity tracking device ownership and use among a population-based sample of adults

Soultana Macridis, Nora Johnston, Steven Johnson, Jeff K. Vallance

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Consumer physical activity tracking devices (PATs) have gained popularity to support individuals to be more active and less sedentary throughout the day. Wearable PATs provide real-time feedback of various fitness-related metrics such as tracking steps, sedentary time, and distance walked. The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence and correlates of PAT ownership and use among a population-based sample of adults. A representative sample of adults 18 years (N = 1,215) from Alberta, Canada were recruited through random-digit dialing and responded to a questionnaire via computer-assisted telephone interviewing methods in summer 2016. Questionnaires assessed demographic and health behaviour variables, and items were designed to assess PAT ownership and usage. Logistic regression analysis (odds ratios) was used to assess correlates of PAT ownership and use. On average, participants (N = 1,215) were 53.9 (SD 16.7) years and 50.1% were female. Of the sample, 19.6% (n = 238) indicated they currently own and use a PAT. Participants who owned a PAT wore their device on average 23.2 days within the past month. Currently owning a PAT was significantly associated with being female (OR = 1.41, CI: 1.10 to 1.82), being <60 years of age (OR = 1.86, CI: 1.37 to 2.53), having at least some post secondary education (OR = 1.88, CI: 1.36 to 2.60), having a BMI 25 (OR = 1.52, CI: 1.16 to 1.99), and meeting physical activity guidelines (OR = 1.45, CI: 1.12 to 1.88). Similar correlates emerged for PAT use. Correlates significantly associated with PAT use and ownership included being female, being less than 60 years of age, having a post-secondary education, meeting physical activity guidelines, and being overweight/obese. This is the first study to examine characteristics of PAT ownership and use among Canadian adults.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0189298
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan. 2018


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