An app to reduce the harm of sedentary behaviour

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An app to reduce the harm of sedentary behaviourr7r

Whilst the advent and adoption of technology in all aspects of our lives brings with it many benefits, it has also brought new issues. Specifically, we are now moving less and sitting more, often in front of computer monitors, TV screens and smart devices. This change in our habits over time has led to a vast majority of office workers on average spending over 9 hours per day being sedentary[1].

The relationship between physical activity and all-cause mortality has been known for several decades based on results from population-based cohort studies. More recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses have confirmed that physical activity is inversely associated with all-cause mortality, after adjustment for other demographic and behavioural risk factors[2][3][4].

A recently published longitudinal study over 45 years following 792 men found that low aerobic capacity was linked to increased risk of death second only to smoking[5]. Many other studies have linked lack of activity to obesity, cancer, hypertension, diabetes, depression and metabolic syndrome[6][7][8].

The converse is also true.  The Diabetes Prevention Program and the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study showed that lifestyle intervention, which included diet and an intense lifestyle program, resulted in a 58% reduction in the incidence of diabetes in individuals with impaired glucose tolerance[9][10] Furthermore the 23 year follow-up of the Da Qing Diabetes Prevention Study revealed that subjects with impaired glucose tolerance who were assigned to the lifestyle intervention group had a 41% and 29% reduction in cardiovascular and all-cause death respectively and 45% reduction in diabetes incidence[11].

From the above discussion, it is absolutely clear that inactivity has significant deleterious implications on many areas of our health, yet despite this, the average Australian is not moving nearly enough to reduce their risks of a multitude of chronic diseases. Furthermore, people tend to underestimate how long they spend sitting during the day and research has found that regular exercise does not completely offset all of the effects of sitting for long periods of time[1] [2].

The good news is that there is evidence that breaking up sedentary time with movement is valuable in reducing the impacts of sitting for long periods[3].

So what can we do to mitigate the risks for what is for most, a necessary part of our work life?

In seeking opportunities to overcome these issues, the Baker IDI has developed an app that attempts to change how long people sit for. Rise & Recharge is a gamification app that encourages people to stand, stretch or walk every 30 minutes. The app can be set to remind you to stand from your chair every 20-30 and if you take more than 15 steps you get a rewarded.  The more times you take a break and move the more rewards with the ultimate being 5 stars for the day.

The app is designed to identify movement through the accelerometer that is built into most smart phones and with an increasing number of Australians carrying a smartphone, the app is highly accessible to much of the population. Movement can also be tracked by the app through data sharing with other wearable tracking devices (such as Fitbit) or information can be manually entered.

The target audience for Rise & Recharge is the average Australian who may or may not be active outside work but is sitting at a desk most of the work day.

In summary, evidence clearly demonstrates the health risks of long periods of sitting. Breaking sedentary periods every 20-30 minutes has been demonstrated to reduce blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes and be effective in reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases and cancer.

The Rise and Recharge app fills a gap in the market providing a simple, easy to use tool for reminding people to find a healthier way to do their day job.

Details

App name:  Rise & Recharge

Cost: Free

Available:

  • Google play
  • iTunes

 

[1] Canning KL, Brown RE, Jamnik VK, Salmon A, Ardern CI, Kuk JL (2014) Individuals Underestimate Moderate and Vigorous Intensity Physical Activity. PLoS ONE 9(5): e97927. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097927

[2] Owen, Neville et al. “Too Much Sitting: The Population-Health Science of Sedentary Behavior.” Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews 38.3 (2010): 105–113. PMC. Web. 6 Aug. 2016.

[3] Breaks in Sedentary Time

Genevieve N. Healy, David W. Dunstan, Jo Salmon, Ester Cerin, Jonathan E. Shaw, Paul Z. Zimmet,Neville Owen

Diabetes Care Apr 2008, 31 (4) 661-666; DOI: 10.2337/dc07-2046

[1]http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-active-evidence.htm

[3] Powell KE, Paluch AE, Blair SN. Physical activity for health: What kind? How much? How intense? On top of what? Annu Rev Public Health. 2011; 32: 349-365.

[4] US Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Resources. At-a-Glance: A Fact Sheet for Professionals.  Washington, USA, 2008.  Accessed June 2012.

[5] Ladenvall et al Low aerobic capacity in middle-aged men associated with increased mortality rates during 45 years of follow-up European Journal of Preventive Cardiology  2047487316655466, first published on July 26, 2016doi:10.

[6] Grontved A and Hu FB. (2011) Television viewing and risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality: a meta-analysis. JAMA, Volume 305, No.23, pp.2448–2455.

[7] Dunstan D.W., Barr E.L.M., Healy G.N., Salmon J., Shaw J.E., Balkau B., Magliano D.J., Cameron A.J., Zimmet P.Z. and Owen N. (2010) Television viewing time and mortality: the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study (AusDiab). (2010) Circulation, Volume 121, Issue 3, pp.384—391.

[8] de Rezende L.F., Rodrigues Lopes M., Rey-López J.P., Matsudo V.K.R. and Luiz O.C. (2014) Sedentary behavior and health outcomes: an overview of systematic reviews. PLoS One, 9(8):e105620.

[9] Knowler WC, Barrett-Connor E, Fowler SE, Hamman RF, Lachin JM, Walker EA, Nathan DM. Reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes with lifestyle intervention or metformin. The New England Journal of Medicine 2002;346(6):393-403.

[10] Tuomilehto J, Lindstrom J, Eriksson JG, Valle TT, Hamalainen H, Ilanne-Parikka P, Keinanen-Kiukaanniemi S, Laakso M, Louheranta A, Rastas M, Salminen V, Uusitupa M, for the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study Group. Prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus by changes in lifestyle among subjects with impaired glucose tolerance. N Engl J Med. 2001;344:1343-1350.

[11] Pan X, Li g, Hu Y, Wang J, Yang W, An Z. Effects of diet and exercise in preventing NIDMM in people with impaired glucose tolerance. The Da Qing IGT and Diabetes Study. Diabetes Care 1997; 20: 537-544

A link to the published article in the Diabetes Management Journal

dmj-vol56-app-for-the-day-v2

 

 

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