Wearable technology and mobile app in trial to prevent type 2 diabetes

Jack Woodfield
Thu, 18 Aug 2016
Wearable technology and mobile app in trial to prevent type 2 diabetes
A new trial is being planned to see if wearable technology and a mobile app could improve health outcomes for people with prediabetes.

The research is a collaboration between King's Health Partners and Buddi, a wearable technology company. The aim of the project is to prevent the most at-risk prediabetes patients from developing type 2 diabetes.

The year-long trial will start in September, involving 200 patients with prediabetes in the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark.

Patients will trial a Buddi wristband monitor in combination with a mobile app that promotes exercise and healthy eating.

The monitor collects data on activity, eating behaviours and diabetes management. Then, users are sent motivational messages and practical plans to encourage them to change their routines.

The plans are designed to help users increase their physical activity and lose weight, which are key measures in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. For example, users might be advised to try swimming if they struggle to commit to other types of exercise.

Sara Murray, chief executive and founder of Buddi, says she believes this is the first time wearable technology has been trialled as a potential NHS treatment.

"This has the potential to provide an option for prevention and a sustained approach to lifestyle behaviour change, which is clearly needed by the NHS and patients alike," said Murray.

Lead researcher Professor Khalida Ismail, King's Health Partners, added: "In the face of the explosive growth of the obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemic, not only in London but globally, continued innovations in clinical services are required and the NHS is in need of new cost effective tools.

"Current intensive and expensive methods are not sustainable given the projected growth of the disease and we have a duty to develop new solutions to help tackle the problem."

The findings are expected in late 2017, and if the trial proves effective, researchers plan to investigate the technology on larger groups of patients.
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