Those who engaged in moderate to high-intensity exercise for 150 minutes/week saw a 0.66% A1c reduction; fasting glucose fell 11 mg/dl on average; average LDL-C reduced by 11.5 mg/dl
Fitbit announced results from a three-month study in Taiwan in eary November that found that integration of Fitbit wearable devices with the Health2Sync diabetes management app significantly improved participants’ A1c, fasting blood glucose, LDL-C, and glucose testing frequency. This is the first data coming out of the two companies’ data integration, which was first announced in September 2019. Study participants (n=95, ages 18-60) from four of Taiwan’s top diabetes clinics were given a Fitbit Inspire HR, which was connected to their Health2Sync diabetes management app, allowing for integration of physical activity, sleep and sleep data. Participants received weekly exercise reminders via their Health2Sync app.
After three months, patients experienced significant improvements in their diabetes control and cholesterol. On average, participants saw a 0.33% A1c drop (this was statistically significant), and those who engaged in moderate to high-intensity activity for at least 150 minutes/week saw a 0.66% A1c reduction. Neither A1c baseline was shared, making it challenging to characterize very specifically how impressive this is – where the baseline A1c falls between, say, 7% and 10%, is very helpful to know before assessing the drop, though the fact that it is statistically significant is meaningful. Average fasting blood glucose fell 11 mg/dl, and LDL-C fell 11.5 mg/dl. Although averages for all participants was not disclosed, the press announcement also shared that “some patients” increased the frequency of moderate to high intensity exercise to 7.03 times a week and “some patients” experienced weight loss of “up to 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds).” We look forward to seeing more details about the baselines, study, and results.
Integrating Fitbit and Health2Sync data onto one app and platform could be quite beneficial for patients with diabetes, who often have to keep track of data from myriad apps and tracking tools and must integrate the data themselves to gather insights. On the other hand, some apps make it quite easy – Dexcom’s Clarity app, for example, was the top-rated app in the recent dQ&A report on this topic in which 2,000+ people ranked apps - contact dQ&A for more information or to get a copy of the report. Health2Sync (App Store 4.7/5 stars; Google Play 4.5/5 stars) is the number one downloaded diabetes app in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Malaysia with a user base of over half a million people. With Fitbit data integrated into the app, Taiwanese patients can access all their glucose and activity data in one app, making their diabetes management easier. This integration is also important from the clinician’s perspective. Accessing patient’s ongoing data related to their diabetes, cholesterol, and physical activity all on platform allows clinicals to more easily remotely monitor their patients and to provide remote consultation that includes activity adjustments when needed. Also in Asia, Fitbit also has a partnership with the government of Singapore (see “Fitbit Partners with Singapore to Provide Fitbit Devices and Coaching in New Nationwide Public Health Program – August 23, 2019”) to provide a free Fitbit to people who commit to one year of Fitbit’s Premium service, which includes “guidance and individual 1:1 health coaching” in the areas of “physical activity, sleep, nutrition, emotional wellbeing.”
Although this three-month study was conducting during the COVID-19 pandemic and was completed in July 2020, Taiwan has not experienced the lockdowns and surges seen elsewhere. Taiwan has had one of the most effective responses to the pandemic in the world and at one point went 200 days without a reported case. All told, the country has had only confirmed 605 cases, 55 local transmissions, and seven deaths since the start of the pandemic. While much of the rest of the world is once again experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, Taiwan reported only two cases yesterday. Given the lack of lockdowns and surges in case numbers, the pandemic likely did not have the kind of effect on exercise and activity in Taiwan that was seen elsewhere.
Close Concerns Questions:
For this study, what were baseline levels for A1c, LDL-C, and fasting blood glucose?
How many have enrolled in the partnership with Fitbit and the government of Singapore?
What metrics or outcomes measurements are available on the partnership between Fitbit and the government of Singapore?
--by Katie Mahoney, Albert Cai, and Kelly Close