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Analyzing the changes of health condition and social capital of elderly people using wearable devices



Rapid developments in information technology have enabled wearable devices to be applied in the health field. In elderly adults, wearable devices aid in data collection and exerts a positive effect on their social capital. This study evaluated the changes in these two parameters among elderly adults using wearable devices, and analyzed the effect of these devices on their daily lives.


We selected 18 elderly people using wearable devices, between February and May 2017. The data collected by the wearable devices included the number of steps taken, sleep duration, blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, fatigue, and mood of the wearers. Using a questionnaire and the trajectory equifinality model, we interviewed and surveyed elderly adults in order to understand their health status and social capital.


The health of the participants was generally good, and most were able to achieve > 8000 steps per day (p < 0.05). Mild and moderate fatigue symptoms were noted in elderly adults for 90% of the study period (p < 0.05). The number of steps, blood pressure, and heart rate changed significantly within a month. From the commencement of using the wearable devices, a steady increase was noted in the monthly number of steps. Interviews suggested that the elderly adults perceived wearable devices as having the potential to improve health and social capital.


By using wearable devices, the participants had a better understanding of their own health, and were willing to take health-boosting measures. The participants were also more willing to increase their social capital and expand their social network.

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Authors’ contributions

SZ was responsible for conducting the questionnaires and interviews, as well as data analysis, based on social capital and a statistical approach. AO lead the project and participated in the experiment design. SN contributed to the data analysis framework design. QJ participated in the data acquisition system design. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


This work was partially supported by a 2016–2018 Masaru Ibuka Foundation Research Project on Oriental Medicine. We are grateful to Zhanwei Gu for the assistance with the experiments, and to Atsushi Saito for the valuable discussion.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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Correspondence to Siyu Zhou.

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Zhou, S., Ogihara, A., Nishimura, S. et al. Analyzing the changes of health condition and social capital of elderly people using wearable devices. Health Inf Sci Syst 6, 4 (2018).

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  • Wearable devices
  • Elderly
  • Social capital
  • ICT
  • Health status