Importance: Accelerometers and pedometers are accessible technologies that could have a role in encouraging physical activity (PA) in line with current recommendations. However, there is no solid evidence of their association with PA in participants with 1 or more cardiometabolic conditions such as diabetes, prediabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
Objectives: To assess the association of accelerometer- and pedometer-based interventions with increased activity and other improved health outcomes in adults with cardiometabolic conditions and to examine characteristics of the studies that could influence the association of both interventions in improving PA.
Data Sources: Records from MEDLINE, Embase, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health, and PsycINFO were searched from inception until August 2018 with no language restriction.
Study Selection: Randomized clinical trials or cluster randomized clinical trials evaluating the use of wearable technology devices such as pedometers and accelerometers as motivating and monitoring tools for increasing PA were included. After removing duplicates, the searches retrieved 5762 references. Following abstract and title screening of 1439 references and full-text screening of 107 studies, 36 studies met inclusion criteria.
Data Extraction and Synthesis: Mean difference in PA was assessed by random-effects meta-analysis. Where the scale was different across studies, the standardized mean difference was used instead. Heterogeneity was quantified using the I2 statistic and explored using mixed-effects metaregression. This study was registered with PROSPERO and followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) reporting guideline.
Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was objectively measured PA in the short to medium term (postintervention to 8 months’ follow-up).
Results: Thirty-six randomized clinical trials (20 using accelerometers and 16 using pedometers) involving 5208 participants were eligible for review. Meta-analysis involving 32 of these trials (4856 participants) showed medium improvements in PA: accelerometers and pedometers combined vs comparator showed a small significant increase in PA overall (standardized mean difference, 0.39 [95% CI, 0.28-0.51]; I2 = 60% [95% CI, 41%-73%]) in studies of short to medium follow-up over a mean (SD) of 32 (28.6) weeks. Multivariable metaregression showed improved association with PA for complex interventions that involved face-to-face consultation sessions with facilitators (β = 0.36; 95% CI, 0.17-0.55; P < .001) and pedometer-based interventions (β = 0.30; 95% CI, 0.08-0.52; P = .002).
Conclusions and Relevance: In this study, complex accelerometer- and pedometer-based interventions led to significant small to medium improvements in PA levels of people with cardiometabolic conditions. However, longer-term trials are needed to assess their performance over time. This study found no evidence that simple self-monitored interventions using either pedometers or accelerometers are associated with improvements in PA.