Utility of Fitbit devices among children and adolescents with chronic health conditions: a scoping review

Alexandra M. Kasparian, Sherif M. Badawy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: While Fitbit® devices were initially intended for leisurely, consumer use, there has been recent interest among scientific and medical communities in the prospective use of Fitbit devices for clinical and research purposes. Those who have chronic health conditions are often required to spend considerable amounts of money and time undergoing physiological tests and activity monitoring to support, stabilize, and manage their health. This disease burden is only amplified in pediatric populations. Devices that are used to collect these data can be invasive, uncomfortable, and disconcerting. Using the Fitbit tracker to acquire such biometric data could ease this burden. Our scoping review seeks to summarize the research that has been conducted on the utilization of Fitbit devices in studies of children and adolescents with chronic health conditions and the feasibility, accuracy, and potential benefits of doing so. Methods: Searches were conducted on PubMed for articles relating pediatric health to Fitbit device usage (using a Boolean search strategy). The eligibility criteria included trials being clinical and/or randomized controlled and articles being in English. Once articles were obtained, they underwent screening and exclusion processes and were charted for their titles, authors, objectives, results, and respective chronic illnesses. In the subsequent full-text review, further charting was conducted, collecting study designs, Fitbit parameters, feasibility, accuracy, and related health and clinical outcomes. Results: Fitbit trackers were unanimously demonstrated to be feasible devices in this population for physical activity monitoring and were determined to be potentially beneficial in measuring and improving overall wellbeing and physical health in children with chronic illness. Nevertheless, sufficient evidence was not found in support of Fitbit accuracy. Additional biases were identified against the population of children with chronic health conditions that may further enable inaccurate data. Conclusions: While Fitbit devices may be beneficial for those interested in improving physical health, discretion is advised for those seeking to collect accurate and/or medically necessitated data. Given the existing literature evaluated, medical-grade technologies are preferred in instances of the latter, as Fitbit devices have not been found to provide reliably accurate data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • Fitbit
  • children
  • chronic health conditions
  • clinical outcomes
  • physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Informatics


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