Using continuous glucose monitoring to motivate physical activity in overweight and obese adults: A pilot study

Yue Liao, Karen M. Basen-Engquist, Diana L. Urbauer, Therese B. Bevers, Ernest Hawk, Susan M. Schembre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Regular physical activity (PA) is associated with a lower risk of several types of cancers. However, two-thirds of overweight/obese adults are not sufficiently active; this, in combination with the unfavorable effect of excess body weight, puts them at a greater risk for cancer. One reason that these individuals do not engage in enough PA may be their lack of motivation to change their current behavior due to the perception of putting in effort for possible future gain without obvious short-term benefits. There is a need for innovative ways to help individuals recognize the immediate health benefits of PA and thus increase their motivation. Methods: This pilot intervention tested a PA education module that included a one-on-one counseling session highlighting the acute effects of PA on glucose patterns, followed by a 10-day selfmonitoring period with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and a Fitbit tracker. Participants rated the acceptability of the education module on a 5-point Likert scale and completed surveys assessing stages of change for motivational readiness. Results: Nineteen overweight/obese adults (84% female) completed the study. Participants gave high ratings to the counseling session for improving their PA-related knowledge (mean = 4.22), increasing motivation (mean = 4.29), and providing personally relevant information (mean = 4.35). The summary acceptability scores for the self-monitoring period were 4.46 for CGM and 4.51 for Fitbit. Participants reported a significant decrease in the precontemplation stage and an increase in the action stage (P < 0.05). Conclusions: CGM is a feasible tool for PA interventions. Impact: Information from CGM could be used as biologicalbased feedback to motivate PA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)761-768
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology


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