Toward research-tested mobile health interventions to prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease among persons with pre-diabetes

Steven S. Coughlin, Jessica Lynn Stewart


Background: About 35% of US adults have pre-diabetes and an increased risk of diabetes. Consumer-facing devices such as the Fitbit help users become more physically active and manage their weight which reduces risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Methods: In this commentary we provide a summary of healthy lifestyle intervention studies involving persons with pre-diabetes including those conducted in routine clinical practice. We also provide an account of how such interventions might be enhanced through the use of wearable devices linked to smartphone applications.
Results: In initial trials focusing on overweight and obesity, consumer wearable devices have been shown to increase physical activity and reduce weight. However, the acceptability and effectiveness of these mHealth interventions among persons with impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose is unknown; studies involving persons with pre-diabetes have not yet been reported.
Conclusions: Research is needed to determine the feasibility and efficacy of wearable devices in improving physical activity and weight management in persons with pre-diabetes who are at-risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.