Logan conducts research involving wearable technology and body composition

At a time with an increased interest in collecting biometric information, such as heart rate, physical activity and sleep via the use of wearable devices, Robert Davidson, PhD, director of the Master of Science in Nutrition and Human Performance degree at Logan, along with students and faculty from Missouri Baptist University (MBU), is conducting a research study to determine whether wearable technology can be used to accurately determine body composition and diet composition.

The purpose of the study is threefold: to evaluate the InBody Band (a wristwearable single-frequency bioelectrical impedance analysis, or BIA, device) for body composition (fat and lean tissue) measurement accuracy; to evaluate the ability and accuracy of the NUDGE app (a smartphone software application that interacts with wearable tracking devices and downloads, stores, analyzes and reports the biometric information) to collect data from wearable fitness trackers; and to evaluate the feasibility of using wearable tracker biometric data to estimate diet composition, using custom software developed by Dr. Davidson.

By tracking participants’ physical activity and daily diet via the InBody Band, the Logan and MBU team will be comparing the InBody Band to the goldstandard technology for body composition measurement—dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA)—using the GE Lunar DEXA machine at Logan. BIA technology has been around for some time, but the InBody Band is the first wearable device to incorporate the technology. Currently, no scientific reports validating InBody Band’s accuracy exist.

Dr. Davidson has recently conducted similar studies and will perform research design and data analysis roles for this study, as well as serve as the DXA supervisor.

The research team began recruiting participants in January for the one year study. The team hypothesizes that wearable technology can be used to accurately determine body composition and diet composition.

If data supports the InBody Band as a reliable wearable that can assess body fat percentage, consumers would have a new fitness tracker that could potentially help individuals obtain a healthier percentage of body fat. This in turn could change the public’s focus from weight to an individual’s body composition.

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