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Research Letter
February 10, 2015

Accuracy of Smartphone Applications and Wearable Devices for Tracking Physical Activity Data

Author Affiliations
  • 1Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • 2Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts
  • 3Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
JAMA. 2015;313(6):625-626. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.17841

Despite the potential of pedometers to increase physical activity and improve health,1 there is little evidence of broad adoption by the general population. In contrast, nearly two-thirds of adults in the United States own a smartphone2 and technology advancements have enabled these devices to track health behaviors such as physical activity and provide convenient feedback.3 New wearable devices that may have more consumer appeal have also been developed.

Even though these devices and applications might better engage individuals in their health, for example through workplace wellness programs,3 there has been little evaluation of their use.3-5 The objective of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of smartphone applications and wearable devices compared with direct observation of step counts, a metric successfully used in interventions to improve clinical outcomes.1