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Heart Research Built Into Personalized Activity Tracker

Mio activity trackers

Mio activity trackers (Mio Global)

29 August 2016. An activity tracking device introduced earlier this year uses data from a major population health study to write its algorithms measuring exercise achievement to prevent heart disease. Javaid Nauman at Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, described the use of these data in Mio activity trackers on Saturday, 27 August at a meeting of the European Society of Cardiology in Rome.

The Mio activity tracker, introduced in January 2016, calculates an activity score known as Personal Activity Intelligence or PAI, that offers an overall fitness index based on an individual’s heart rate. Many fitness devices compare the wearer’s activity to general recommended exercise guidelines, such as 10,000 steps a day. While these recommended guidelines can help people get started with more exercise, say the authors, each person’s cardiovascular system has unique requirements.

“People may be insufficiently active,” says Nauman in an ESC statement, “because they do not have personalized, meaningful information about how much physical activity they require, and at what intensity.” Nauman is a researcher in the Cardiac Exercise Research Group at Norwegian University of Science and Technology. He cites data showing lack of exercise contributes each year to more than 5 million deaths globally and over €80 billion ($US 89 billion) in health care spending in Europe.

PAI scores are calculated with algorithms derived from an individual’s heart rate when exercising in any form, adjusted for personal variables including age, gender, and resting and maximum heart rate. Wearers of Mio devices aim for PAI scores of at least 100 over a 7-day period to help prevent premature death from heart disease.

Researchers at the Cardiac Exercise Research Group developed PAI based on data from the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study that uses the Norwegian acronym HUNT, a collection of personal and family medical histories, surveys, and blood samples beginning in 1984. PAI algorithms are based on a subset of HUNT data dealing with fitness from 4,637 individuals, including questions on frequency, duration. and intensity of exercise. Responses to these questions correlated with intensity of heart rate reserve, the difference between resting and maximum heart rate.

The team validated PAI algorithms with data from more than 39,000 men and women in Norway taking part in the HUNT project. Of those individuals, about 10,000 deaths occurred after a median follow-up of nearly 29 years, with nearly 3,900 deaths attributed to cardiovascular disorders. Women with PAI scores of 100 or more were 23 percent less likely to die of cardiovascular disease than completely inactive women, while men with PAI scores of 100 or more were 17 percent less likely to die of cardiovascular disease. Deaths from any cause were also 17 and 13 percent lower for women and men respectively with PAI scores of 100 or more, compared to completely inactive individuals.

“The more elevated your heart rate is during exercise,” notes Nauman, “the more quickly you accumulate PAI points, but you can also work out at lower intensities for longer durations to earn PAI. Our research shows that keeping your PAI score at 100 or above could prevent premature death.”

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