APPS TO KEEP YOUR HEALTH IN CHECK

Aus­tralians are more con­cerned that they will die from pre­ventable dis­eases than ac­ci­den­tal in­jury. The na­tional sur­vey, com­mis­sioned by Baker IDI Heart and Di­a­betes In­sti­tute, found that 67 per cent of peo­ple fear dy­ing of cancer and 50 per cent of peopl

Business First - - HEALTH -

S tud­ies have in­di­cated that phys­i­cal in­ac­tiv­ity is the fourth lead­ing cause of death world­wide. Ev­i­dence links pro­longed sit­ting in adults with a 24 per cent in­creased risk of death from all causes, in­clud­ing heart dis­ease and some forms of cancer – the very things Aus­tralians are most afraid of.

De­spite ev­i­dence that Aus­tralians sit for up to nine hours per day, only one in five sur­vey re­spon­dents state that they pri­ori­tise the re­duc­tion of sit­ting time in or­der to pro­tect their health.

Head of Phys­i­cal Ac­tiv­ity Re­search at Baker IDI, Pro­fes­sor David Dun­stan, says that Aus­tralians largely un­der­es­ti­mate how many hours they spend sit­ting dur­ing their day, in­clud­ing time spent at a com­puter or de­vice, com­mut­ing, driv­ing and sit­ting in front of the tele­vi­sion.

“Aus­tralians need to pri­ori­tise reg­u­lar move­ment ev­ery half an hour to re­duce their risk of dis­eases in­clud­ing type 2 di­a­betes, heart dis­ease and some can­cers. When sit­ting, our blood- ­‐ flow slows down be­cause our mus­cles are in­ac­tive. Our body re­lies on move­ment to keep blood flow­ing ef­fi­ciently and to help clear glu­cose and fats.

“This af­fects ev­ery­one who sits for ex­tended pe­ri­ods, even those who ex­er­cise reg­u­larly. While daily ex­er­cise is im­por­tant, it does not coun­ter­act all of the neg­a­tive ef­fects of sit­ting for ex­tended pe­ri­ods of time – that’s a com­mon mis­con­cep­tion.”

Data from the cur­rent sur­vey also found that more than one in ten Aus­tralians list death due to com­pli­ca­tions of type 2 di­a­betes as one of their top five con­cerns. But Aus­tralians should be more con­cerned, as ev­i­dence sug­gests that those who sit for ex­tended pe­ri­ods of time have a 91 per cent in­creased risk of type 2 di­a­betes.

Ap­prox­i­mately 269 adults in Aus­tralia aged over 25 de­velop di­a­betes ev­ery day. Com­pli­ca­tions from type 2 di­a­betes in­clude the in­creased risk of heart at­tack or stroke, kid­ney dis­ease and poor cir­cu­la­tion.

In re­sponse to the ev­i­dence, Baker IDI has launched a na­tional cam­paign to en­cour­age peo­ple to move ev­ery 30 min­utes with the help of a new free smart phone app named Rise & Recharge.

The ef­fi­cacy of apps in re­duc­ing seden­tary be­hav­iour is sup­ported by ev­i­dence from a pi­lot study con­ducted by the Amer­i­can Cancer So­ci­ety that found par­tic­i­pants who set Smart­phone re­minders added ap­prox­i­mately 25 min­utes of ac­tiv­ity to their day. The study sup­ported the premise that Smart­phone prompts help boost peo­ple’s phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity lev­els and re­duced their risk of cer­tain types of chronic dis­ease.

The Rise & Recharge app has been de­vel­oped with sup­port from the Voda­fone Foun­da­tion Aus­tralia. It’s now live on both the App Store (http://rise.re/1QS1pED) and Google Play (http://rise.re/1VB2BLJ) and is com­pat­i­ble with pop­u­lar wear­able fit­ness de­vices.

Voda­fone Foun­da­tion has formed a three year part­ner­ship with Baker IDI as part of its com­mit­ment to

sup­port­ing char­i­ties to har­ness the power of mo­bile tech­nol­ogy to im­prove the health of Aus­tralians.

More about the app

The de­vel­op­ment of the app by Baker IDI with sup­port from the Voda­fone Foun­da­tion Aus­tralia, un­der­scores the grow­ing global in­ter­est in tech­nol­ogy to trans­form raw data into mean­ing­ful in­for­ma­tion that can have pos­i­tive health ef­fects for users.

The app sends alerts to re­mind the user to move around at se­lected in­ter­vals, tracks the users move­ment through their smart­phone or wear­able de­vice and records the data in a sum­mary that is easy to read and in­ter­pret.

Cre­ator of the app, b2­cloud Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Josh Guest says the tech­nol­ogy dis­plays data on a per­son’s pro­longed sit­ting in a sim­ple way that em­pow­ers be­hav­iour change.

“There is a lot of raw data about an in­di­vid­ual’s health that they can now ac­cess. But it is only if this raw data is pre­sented in a mean­ing­ful way that it can be­come a mo­ti­va­tor for be­hav­iour change,” he said.

“The pur­pose of apps like Rise & Recharge is to pro­vide users with reg­u­lar in­for­ma­tion about their health and be­hav­iours – like a visit to the doc­tor would, but on a more reg­u­lar ba­sis.”

The Rise & Recharge app is one of a hand­ful of apps glob­ally that con­nects to both Ap­ple Health and Google Fit, com­ple­ment­ing a va­ri­ety of wear­able tech­nol­ogy. It has been de­signed for both iPhone and An­droid – de­signed to utilise the tech­nol­ogy that a user is car­ry­ing around with them on a daily ba­sis, pro­vid­ing as much flex­i­bil­ity as pos­si­ble.

The ef­fi­cacy of apps in re­duc­ing seden­tary be­hav­iour is sup­ported by ev­i­dence from a pi­lot study con­ducted by the Amer­i­can Cancer So­ci­ety that found par­tic­i­pants who set Smart­phone re­minders added ap­prox­i­mately 25 min­utes of ac­tiv­ity to their day. The study sup­ported the premise that Smart­phone prompts help boost peo­ple’s phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity lev­els and re­duced their risk of cer­tain types of chronic dis­ease.

Head of Phys­i­cal Ac­tiv­ity Re­search at Baker IDI, Pro­fes­sor David Dun­stan, be­lieves that tech­no­log­i­cal in­ter­ven­tions such as these are a crit­i­cal path for­ward to im­prov­ing the health of Aus­tralians.

“Aus­tralians con­tinue to un­der­es­ti­mate the amount of time they spend sit­ting on a daily ba­sis. We be­lieve the smart­phone re­minders will pro­vide them with the prompts they need to move more and re­duce the se­ri­ous health risks of long term sit­ting,” he said.

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