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Feasibility of a real-time self-monitoring device for sitting less and moving more: a randomised controlled trial
  1. Anne Martin1,2,
  2. Jacob M Adams1,
  3. Christopher Bunn3,
  4. Jason M R Gill4,
  5. Cindy M Gray3,
  6. Kate Hunt5,
  7. Douglas J Maxwell6,
  8. Hidde P van der Ploeg7,
  9. Sally Wyke3,
  10. Nanette Mutrie1
  11. On behalf of the EuroFIT consortium
  1. 1 Physical Activity for Health Research Centre, Institute for Sport Physical Education and Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2 Department of Computer and Information Sciences, Digital Health and Wellness Group, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
  3. 3 Institute of Health and Wellbeing, College of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  4. 4 Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  5. 5 MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  6. 6 PAL Technologies Ltd, Glasgow, UK
  7. 7 Department of Public and Occupational Health, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Professor Nanette Mutrie; nanette.mutrie{at}


Objectives Time spent inactive and sedentary are both associated with poor health. Self-monitoring of walking, using pedometers for real-time feedback, is effective at increasing physical activity. This study evaluated the feasibility of a new pocket-worn sedentary time and physical activity real-time self-monitoring device (SitFIT).

Methods Forty sedentary men were equally randomised into two intervention groups. For 4 weeks, one group received a SitFIT providing feedback on steps and time spent sedentary (lying/sitting); the other group received a SitFIT providing feedback on steps and time spent upright (standing/stepping). Change in sedentary time, standing time, stepping time and step count was assessed using activPAL monitors at baseline, 4-week follow-up (T1) and 12-week (T2) follow-up. Semistructured interviews were conducted after 4 and 12 weeks.

Results The SitFIT was reported as acceptable and usable and seen as a motivating tool to reduce sedentary time by both groups. On average, participants reduced their sedentary time by 7.8 minutes/day (95% CI −55.4 to 39.7) (T1) and by 8.2 minutes/day (95% CI −60.1 to 44.3) (T2). They increased standing time by 23.2 minutes/day (95% CI 4.0 to 42.5) (T1) and 16.2 minutes/day (95% CI −13.9 to 46.2) (T2). Stepping time was increased by 8.5 minutes/day (95% CI 0.9 to 16.0) (T1) and 9.0 minutes/day (95% CI 0.5 to 17.5) (T2). There were no between-group differences at either follow-up time points.

Conclusion The SitFIT was perceived as a useful tool for self-monitoring of sedentary time. It has potential as a real-time self-monitoring device to reduce sedentary and increase upright time.

  • sedentary behaviour
  • sitting
  • self-monitoring
  • device
  • user trial
  • feasibility
  • SitFIT

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  • Contributors AM conducted the study, analysed the data and drafted the manuscript. CB, KH and CMG conceptualised the study and contributed to the qualitative data analysis and manuscript writing. JMA assisted in the data collection and manuscript revisions. JMRG, HPvdP, DJM, SW and NM conceptualised the study and contributed to writing the manuscript. NM is the guarantor.

  • Funding This study has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. 602170. The materials presented and views expressed here are the responsibility of the authors only. The EU Commission takes no responsibility for any use made of the information set out. KH is supported by the UK Medical Research Council and Chief Scientist Office (MC_UU_12017/12; SPHSU12).

  • Competing interests The SitFIT device was developed by PAL Technologies, which is a member of the EuroFIT consortium. DJM is CEO of PAL Technologies. All other authors declare no competing interest.

  • Ethics approval Moray House School of Education Ethics Committee, University of Edinburgh.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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