Dana-Farber, Fitbit team up on breast cancer study

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Fitbit are partnering on a two-year study to determine how weight loss plays into breast cancer recurrence.

The Breast Cancer Weight Loss (BWEL) trial will have 3,200 overweight female participants tracking weight loss and fitness goals using a Fitbit Charge HR, according to an announcement.

"If this study shows that losing weight through increasing physical activity and reducing calories improves survival rates in breast cancer, this could lead to weight loss and physical activity becoming a standard part of the treatment for millions of breast cancer patients around the world," Jennifer Ligibel, lead BWEL investigator and a breast oncologist in the Susan F. Smith Center for Women's Cancers at Dana-Farber, says in the announcement.

The device provides 24-hour activity and heart rate tracking. Participants will also use a Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale to record weight, BMI, lean mass and body fat percentage. In addition, participants will use FitStar, a software tool that provides personalized video-based exercise experiences.

Earlier this year Fitbit devices were tapped by Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota for a research effort regarding sleep behavior and activity among children diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

Study participants will be randomized to a weight loss intervention, as well as to either a health education program focusing on breast cancer or a health education program-alone control group. Patients in the weight loss group will work with a health coach to boost exercise and reduce calories.

For more information:
- read the announcement