Fitbit selected for a NIH precision medicine research program

All of Us research program

Fitbit wearable devices have been selected for the national All of Us Research Program, which was established by the White House in 2015, and funded by a supplement to a funding award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI).

All of Us aims to enroll one million or more participants to accelerate research that may improve the ability to prevent and treat disease based on individual characteristics. Researchers want to learn more about how individual differences in lifestyle, environment and biological makeup can influence health and disease.

As a subset of the program, the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) leads The Participant Center, a unit tasked with enrolling and engaging diverse populations across the country. Through this network, STSI will provide up to 10,000 Fitbit Charge 2 and Fitbit Alta HR devices to a representative sample of All of Us volunteers for a one-year study. At the end of the study, the researchers will provide recommendations on how the devices could be more broadly incorporated into the All of Us Research Program.

In addition, the study will generate a data set that presents a unique opportunity to explore the relationship between health indicators such as physical activity, heart rate and sleep in conjunction with other critical health outcomes that will be captured as part of All of Us.

“As part of the global shift towards precision medicine, wearable data has the potential to inform highly personalized healthcare,” Adam Pellegrini, General Manager of Fitbit Health Solutions, said in a statement. “Through this historic initiative, we will be able to see the role that Fitbit data can play on the path to better understanding how individualization can help to prevent and treat disease.”

The STSI team has reportedly selected Fitbit based on its review of peer-reviewed validation studies and the fact that Fitbit devices are the most popular wearables in health research worldwide.

According to an analysis published by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal, Fitbit devices are the most commonly used tracker in biomedical research, including published work (89%), clinical trials (83%), and NIH-funded research (95%). To-date, more than 470 published studies have utilized a Fitbit device.