This project explored whether wearable fitness devices (i.e. Fitbits) influence adolescents motivations for physical activity, and whether and how they should be used in schools and physical education to promote lifelong physical activity engagement.
Evidence was generated with approximately 100 adolescents (age 13-14 years) in the UK. Adolescents' were used with a Fitbit to wear for 8 weeks and completed pre/post questionnaires, as well as interviews.
The findings suggest that motivation for physical activity increased, but after 4 weeks most young people stopped using the Fitbit device. Many of the young people disregarded the Fitbit because it promoted negative feelings and/or because they perceived that it didn’t measure their physical activity accurately. Overall, the young people opposed the use of Fitbits in schools, and reported that their physical activity levels shouldn’t be monitored.
This work was supported by the Richard Benjamin Trust