NHS Falls for the Fitness Tracker Hype

By Gary Cutlack on at

NHS England has taken a big slice of the wearables bullshit cake, and is set to issue thousands of fitness trackers to people at the highest risk of developing Type 2 diabetes due to their health and lifestyle.

The idea is that people who don't move enough and eat too much might suddenly stop doing so because a watch pings smiley faces at them and says they're good when they walk up some stairs and their heartbeat goes from a resting 79 bpm to something bonkers like 83, with the prescription of fitness trackers backed up by online or app-based access to "health coaches and educational content" as if the current national food awareness news blasts are not enough.

NHS England has already run trials of wearable schemes as part of a newly digital Diabetes Prevention Programme, and says the take up of tech-assisted prevention programmes is higher than those that offer people at risk of developing Type 2 face-to-face support with health staff.

Nikki Joule from charity Diabetes UK said: "With millions of people in the UK at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, it's vital that the NHS England Diabetes Prevention Programme is able to reach as many people as possible. This pilot has shown that a digital version of the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme has the potential to encourage a wider range of people to participate."

As long as people don't just strap them on the dog's leg then continue using Chocolate Hobnobs to spoon up last night's cold takeaway as normal. [NHS England via Guardian]