If, like so many Americans, you resolved to get in shape in the New Year, you may have also started to track your progress. In recent years, one of the most popular ways to keep your fitness in check is by using a wearable device, like a Fitbit tracker or smartwatch. In fact, in early 2020, research found that more than 1 in 5 Americans say that they regularly used a fitness tracker to monitor their activity. Even if you think a wearable device isn’t for you, now may be the time to think again. These devices can do more than just count your steps. They can help you track key metrics that can prove useful in managing your overall health and wellbeing.

women running wearing fitbit

“Wearable devices can give you the tools you need to help improve your health and wellbeing,” explains Julia Moore Vogel, PhD, Director for the All of Us Research Program Participant Center, a historic effort by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to engage one million participants from diverse communities throughout the country in research to transform the future of medicine.

“More than just tracking your exercise, wearable devices can track your sleep patterns and some even track how your body responds to stress. It can track your heart rate. It can tell you how many calories you burned while swimming, biking, or running. And it can serve as your own health and wellbeing companion – right on your wrist,” she adds. “That’s why All of Us is launching a wearable study to provide 10,000 participants with a free Fitbit device – to partner with participants, offering the opportunity to take charge of their health and wellbeing and the chance to provide researchers with more data to help uncover patterns of health and disease.”

women observing her fitbit

Early this year, All of Us will be providing free Fitbit devices to qualified participants. Those who join the research study and agree to share their data to support the research may be eligible. This initiative is just one part of the research program’s efforts to remove barriers to health and wellness in diverse, underserved communities.


With its focus on personalized medicine, All of Us aims to decrease health disparities and provide research opportunities for population groups that have historically been underrepresented in medical research. The Wearable Study from All of Us is helping to remove those barriers by providing participants with a valuable tool that can help improve health equity.

These are people like Robert, an All of Us study participant who is passionate about diet and exercise – and about members of his community participating in medical research geared toward personalized medicine.

“Personalized medicine is very important,” he says. “It’s not like a cookie-cutter type of medical attention.”

“I would like to see a broader demographic of people take part in healthcare initiatives and studies. There’s a lot of people out here that are in need – that are not within the net of healthcare research,” he continues. “Coming from a historically underrepresented group, if we can participate on the preventive side, then it makes things easier in the long run.”

Learn more about the All of Us Research Program and its wearable study.

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