10,000 Fitbits are being handed out in a study to gather vital health data

Physical activity, heart rate and sleep data will be taken and studied
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Fitbit has been chosen by the National Institutes of Health to be part of a long-term study that will examine how lifestyle differences can affect personal health.

Fitbit was picked to be part of the NIH's All of US research program, introduced by President Obama in 2015, which spans across the US and studies how diseases are caused - and can be prevented - by lifestyle, biological and environmental differences.

Read this: Best fitness trackers to buy in 2017

The Scripps Translational Science Institute, which runs part of the All of US project, will be handing out up to 10,000 Fitbit Charge 2 and Fitbit Alta HR devices which will be used in the study. The study will take place over the course of a year.

Fitbit was selected due to the broad compatibility of its trackers and a battery life that goes a bit further than wearables like the Apple Watch.

Heart rate, physical activity and sleep data will be monitored in subjects. We've found Fitbit's heart rate tracking to falter a bit in more intense workouts, so how that could affect the study remains to be seen, but for day-to-day tracking it performs solidly, while sleep tracking is the best we've experienced on any wearable.

Earlier this year a report from the Sleep Research Society found that Fitbit's sleep tracking came in 69% agreement with testing by polysomnography technicians in normal adult sleepers, which is considered a "reasonable degree of accuracy".

"We've basically exceeded anything that has been published in academic literature about how you can measure sleep stages with respiration, heart rate, movement and so on," Dr Conor Heneghan, Fitbit's lead sleep research scientist told us at the time.

So it's exciting times for Fitbit as the company continues to make big moves in the health space.

10,000 Fitbits are being handed out in a study to gather vital health data

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Hugh Langley


Now at Business Insider, Hugh originally joined Wareable from TechRadar where he’d been writing news, features, reviews and just about everything else you can think of for three years.

Hugh is now a correspondent at Business Insider.

Prior to Wareable, Hugh freelanced while studying, writing about bad indie bands and slightly better movies. He found his way into tech journalism at the beginning of the wearables boom, when everyone was talking about Google Glass and the Oculus Rift was merely a Kickstarter campaign - and has been fascinated ever since.

He’s particularly interested in VR and any fitness tech that will help him (eventually) get back into shape. Hugh has also written for T3, Wired, Total Film, Little White Lies and China Daily.

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