Translational Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 719–730 | Cite as

Adherence with physical activity monitoring wearable devices in a community-based population: observations from the Washington, D.C., Cardiovascular Health and Needs Assessment

  • Leah R Yingling
  • Valerie Mitchell
  • Colby R Ayers
  • Marlene Peters-Lawrence
  • Gwenyth R Wallen
  • Alyssa T Brooks
  • James F. Troendle
  • Joel Adu-Brimpong
  • Samantha Thomas
  • JaWanna Henry
  • Johnetta N Saygbe
  • Dana M Sampson
  • Allan A Johnson
  • Avis P Graham
  • Lennox A Graham
  • Kenneth L WileyJr
  • Tiffany Powell-WileyEmail author
Original Research


Wearable mobile health (mHealth) technologies offer approaches for targeting physical activity (PA) in resource-limited, community-based interventions. We sought to explore user characteristics of PA tracking, wearable technology among a community-based population within a health and needs assessment. In 2014–2015, we conducted the Washington, D.C., Cardiovascular Health and Needs Assessment in predominantly African-American churches among communities with higher obesity rates and lower household incomes. Participants received a mHealth PA monitor and wirelessly uploaded PA data weekly to church data collection hubs. Participants (n = 99) were 59 ± 12 years, 79% female, and 99% African-American, with a mean body mass index of 33 ± 7 kg/m2. Eighty-one percent of participants uploaded PA data to the hub and were termed “PA device users.” Though PA device users were more likely to report lower household incomes, no differences existed between device users and non-users for device ownership or technology fluency. Findings suggest that mHealth systems with a wearable device and data collection hub may feasibly target PA in resource-limited communities.


mHealth technology Physical activity Community-based participatory research Obesity African-American Activity monitoring 



We would like to acknowledge the participating church communities for warmly welcoming our research team and providing feedback from preliminary stages. Additionally, we acknowledge the D.C. CHOC for their contribution to the study design and their insightful recommendations. We would like to acknowledge Ms. Darlene Allen for her work with blood testing for the study.

We would also like to acknowledge the work on this project by Mr. Praduman Jain and colleagues from Vignet Corporation through use of their Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) toolkit under contract #HHSN268201400023P. The PMI toolkit enables custom mHealth programs for data collection, population surveillance, interactive informed consent, assessments, remote monitoring, CBPR, consumer engagement, interventions, motivation, and behavior change.

Compliance with ethical standards

Disclosure of potential conflict of interest and funding sources

The views expressed in this manuscript are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; the National Institutes of Health; or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

This study was funded by grant HL006168. Funding for TP-W, LY, and VM is provided through the Division of Intramural Research of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Funding for CA is provided through a professional services contract (contract #HHSN268201300173P) through the Division of Intramural Research of NHLBI at NIH. Funding for ST and JA-B is provided through the Office of Intramural Training and Education of the NIH. Funding for GW and AB is provided through the Clinical Center, NIH. Funding for MP-L is provided through the Division of Intramural Research of NHLBI at NIH.

Research involving human participants

Statement of human rights: All procedures involving human participants performed in the Washington, D.C. CV Health and Needs Assessment study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Institutional Review Board study and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Written informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Society of Behavioral Medicine (outside the US) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leah R Yingling
    • 1
  • Valerie Mitchell
    • 1
  • Colby R Ayers
    • 2
  • Marlene Peters-Lawrence
    • 3
  • Gwenyth R Wallen
    • 4
  • Alyssa T Brooks
    • 4
  • James F. Troendle
    • 5
  • Joel Adu-Brimpong
    • 1
  • Samantha Thomas
    • 1
  • JaWanna Henry
    • 6
  • Johnetta N Saygbe
    • 1
  • Dana M Sampson
    • 7
  • Allan A Johnson
    • 8
  • Avis P Graham
    • 8
  • Lennox A Graham
    • 8
  • Kenneth L WileyJr
    • 9
  • Tiffany Powell-Wiley
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Branch, Division of Intramural Research, National Heart, Lung, and Blood InstituteNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Donald W. Reynolds Cardiovascular Clinical Research CenterUniversity of Texas Southwestern Medical CenterDallasUSA
  3. 3.Office of the Clinical Director, Division of Intramural Research, National Heart, Lung, and Blood InstituteNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  4. 4.Clinical CenterNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  5. 5.Office of Biostatistics Research, National Heart, Lung, and Blood InstituteNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  6. 6.Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information TechnologyWashingtonUSA
  7. 7.Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesRockvilleUSA
  8. 8.College of Nursing and Allied Health SciencesHoward UniversityWashingtonUSA
  9. 9.Division of Genomic Medicine, National Human Genome Research InstituteNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA

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