The government has a massive health research project in the pipeline called All of Us, that itself being the new name given to the Precision Medicine Initiative announced by President Obama back in 2015. This initiative will help the National Institutes of Health gather a mass of data that’ll ultimately help inform researchers across a spectrum of categories.
To help gather this data, the NIH is buying 10,000 Fitbit fitness wearables to be used by participants in the project. These wearables will gather activity data related to the participants, helping researchers amass info on lifestyles, including sleep habits. Both the Fitbit Alta HR and the Fitbit Charge 2 will be used as part of the project.
Fitbit is officially the first of its kind to get its wearables authorized for use in the research project. With these devices, which are able to run for days at a time without charging and which support both Android and iOS, researchers will get insight into daily activity levels, heart rate, sleep habits, and more.
This provides a unique opportunity to see what a participant’s average day is like, something not possible in a clinical setting. It gives researchers a window of insight into the habits and trends that can influence health and diseases, including further refining it down into categories of potential influence like biological makeup and environment.
Explaining the All of Us program, the NIH writes:
Far too many diseases do not have a proven means of prevention, or effective treatment. We must gain better insights into the biological, environmental, and behavioral influences on these diseases to make a difference for the millions of people who suffer from them. Precision medicine is a revolutionary approach for disease prevention and treatment that takes into account individual differences in lifestyle, environment, and biology.