Activity Tracking’s Newest Companion
Pulse Wave Velocity
See related article, pp 503–510
Chances are you or someone you know is wearing a device to monitor their physical activity. Sales of consumer physical activity monitor watches have skyrocketed from 15 million in 2014 to 65 million in 2017.1 This explosion in physical activity monitoring is attracting investigators intrigued by their research potential.2 Many consumer devices have the ability to transfer data on a scale that facilitates longitudinal studies. Once the validity of these consumer monitors was established for tracking steps, researchers began to use them in combination with devices to monitor other physiological functions. Brouard et al3 analyzed data from 19 000 adults who owned both a Withings Pulse activity tracker and the company’s Food and Drug Administration–cleared wireless blood pressure (BP) cuff. The authors found increases of 1000 steps per day for 1 month led to decreases in systolic BP in both sexes (ΔMen, −0.13 mm Hg; ΔWomen, −0.21 mm Hg). Using the same devices in >9000 individuals across 37 countries with an analysis stratified by body weight (BW), Menai et al4 found that increasing steps by >3000 per day decreased both systolic (−1.6 mm Hg) and diastolic (−1.3 mm Hg) BP in overweight but not in normal-weight individuals.
In this issue, Modena et al5 are the first to report findings from a study in a naturalistic setting that combines an activity tracker with a smart BW scale that also measures pulse wave velocity (PWV). Using ballistocardiography and impedance plethysmography, Withings was the first to develop a consumer device that measures PWV via a BW scale. Moreover, a recent report demonstrated acceptable comparability of these …