The U.S. has been in the midst of a real health crisis for many years. As processed foods become more prevalent and kids are staying inside to watch Netflix and play Xbox, America is feeling the need to get some exercise.
Government funded programs with health initiatives in mind are focused on preventative health measures and encouraging healthy behavior.
That's where the free Fitbit comes in.
Get your free government Fitbit
The NIH (National Institute of Health) program that started in 2015 has a new initiative called All of Us that aims to give out 10,000 Fitbit devices. The goal is to use these devices to find out more about your sleep patterns, heart rates, physical activity and energy levels.
Adam Pellegrini, Fitbit's health solutions general manager said in an interview with TechCrunch, "Sleep, heart rate information, physical activity, those are all essential elements," he said. "We will be able to give a real sample of energy levels, how people are sleeping, their walking — those type of things. We're getting that information as people live their normal lives."
The theory seems to make sense. The data Fitbit is able to collect can be a huge boon to the health research goals that are the foundation of the All of Us initiative, but there could be a few drawbacks to consider.
How often people use their Fitbit, and when they use it, could drastically affect the research goals. For instance, a study in 2015 found that people don't always wear their device, and often only wear it when they plan on exercising. The devices have even been found to be only around 80 percent accurate when measuring heart rate. This kind of phenomenon could throw the research data off significantly if not taken into account.
There are also additional costs that need to be examined, like the costs to replace the Fitbit bands that have been known to snap, and replacement costs in the case that a participant damages their device as a whole. These are all factors that will come under enormous scrutiny when a government-funded program starts giving away free things.
Despite its possible drawbacks, the program has the right idea. Encourage Americans to exercise, track their health more frequently and collect an awful lot of information on the average American's lifestyle habits that may be affecting their health.
Signing up for a free Fitbit
If you are interested in participating in this program, it is very simple to apply. The All of Us program aims to register 1 million Americans, so be one of the first to have a higher chance of qualifying for the free Fitbit device.
Head over to joinallofus.org to learn more about the organization.
If you are one of the lucky ones to score a free Fitbit I'd love to hear from you on my show. Click here to make an appointment or just call me during my show.
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