Last updated Oct 16, 2017
What does the activity monitor measure?
The activity monitor records information about the duration, frequency and intensity of all kinds of activity (from sleeping to vigorous physical activity). It does this by measuring speed of movement in different directions (up/down; forwards/backwards; and left/right). Scientists will be able to determine how active a person has been using the data collected by the activity monitor, which will include activities such as walking, running, cycling, and swimming. It does this by monitoring arm movements and – in the case of cycling and similar activities- by measuring the amount of vibration the device makes.
How long do I have to wear the activity monitor?
The activity monitor should be worn continuously for 7 days. Do not worry if it is not a typical week for you (e.g. you are doing more or less physical activity than normal). Please start wearing the monitor as soon as possible after it arrives in the post (preferably on the same day). The letter that comes with it will state when you should stop wearing the monitor and return it to us.
On which wrist should I wear the activity monitor?
It is preferable if you wear the activity monitor on the wrist of the hand that you usually use to write (i.e. your right wrist if you are right-handed). Generally this will be convenient for most people since it‘s typical to wear a watch on the other wrist. If for some reason this is not possible, you can also wear it on the other wrist.
How will I know if the activity monitor is working?
The activity monitor is set up to start recording soon after arrival and to turn itself off after 7 days. As it is completely silent, you will not be able to tell that it is running.
What is the activity monitor made of, and might it cause an allergic reaction on my wrist?
You will receive one of two types of monitors. The first type (left picture) is made of moulded thermoplastic and the strap is hypoallergenic. The second type (right picture) is made of polycarbonate plastic and the strap is made of silicone.
First type: moulded thermoplastic Second type:polycarbonate plastic
There are no health risks associated with wearing either type of activity monitor.
Do I need to wear the activity monitor for 7 days in a row or can it be any 7 days?
The activity monitor has been set up to turn itself on automatically soon after it arrives with you and to run for 7 days before turning itself off. In order to record the most complete information about your activity, we need you to put it on soon after it arrives and wear it continuously for 7 days.
I was away for a few days when the activity monitor arrived. Is it still worth wearing it?
Yes, if you start to wear it before the end date given in the letter (as the monitor will stop automatically on that date). If the end date has passed, please return the monitor to us in the Freepost envelope provided.
Can I take the activity monitor off during the 7-day period?
If possible, we would like you to wear the activity monitor all of the time throughout the 7-day period. This will ensure that it provides complete information about the duration, frequency and intensity of your activity. It is robust and waterproof and has been designed to be worn when working or sleeping, having a bath or shower, or playing all types of sport (including swimming). However, if you need to take the monitor off for some reason, then you can put it back on later and it will continue recording your activity.
Is there anywhere that I cannot wear the activity monitor?
The device is robust and waterproof. It can be worn when having a bath or shower and when doing manual work or playing sport (including swimming). Extremes of temperature may damage the battery, so it should be taken off while you have a sauna. If you require any advice, please call us on the number at the end of this document.
My job does not allow me to wear accessories: can I still take part in this study?
Yes. Please remove the activity monitor if you are required to do so for work, but don’t forget to put it back on again afterwards. Remember that it is robust and waterproof so it can be worn during heavy manual work.
Can I take the activity monitor on holiday?
Yes. Put the monitor on your wrist and forget about it. It will switch itself off after 7 days and you can then take it off. But please do not forget to return it to us when you get back home.
Can I wear the monitor for longer than a week?
The monitor is set up to turn itself off after 7 days. The date when this will happen is given in the letter that comes with the monitor. Please return it to us as soon as possible after that date in the Freepost envelope provided.
What should I do if the activity monitor breaks or is lost?
Don’t worry. If the monitor gets broken just return it to us in the envelope provided. We should be able to retrieve the information that has already been collected. If you lose the monitor, then please let us know. You will still be invited to wear a monitor in the next season, if you are interested.
How secure is the information on the monitor – suppose it gets lost in the mail?
UK Biobank takes the confidentiality of information about participants extremely seriously. The activity monitor does not contain any information that could identify you directly. A special code number on each monitor is matched with your “participant ID number”, and the key to this code is known only to a small number of UK Biobank staff. Your personal details and data about your health and lifestyle are also stored separately. Additional security mechanisms are used to protect your privacy.
If you need me to wear it 4 times this year, can I just keep it and send it back to you in 12 months’ time?
No – although we are asking you to wear the monitor on a number of occasions, we need you to send it back to us after each week that you wear it in order to download the data and to make sure it is in good working order. We will send you a reminder about two weeks before you are next scheduled to wear a monitor. You will then be sent a different monitor programmed for the next season.
When and how should I return the activity monitor?
The letter that came with the activity monitor will indicate the date it will turn itself off. Please post it back to us as soon as possible after that date. All you need to do is put the monitor into the Freepost envelope provided, seal the envelope and put it in a post box. The cost of postage is already paid. Do not provide any personal information with the monitor; a survey will be sent to you where you can give us your feedback.
Can I find out my results from either of the activity monitor studies?
No, unfortunately we are not able to provide you with personal feedback about your activity. However, research using these data will be made available on our website.
What should I do if I cannot find the return envelope?
Don’t worry. Simply call us (on the number at end of this document) and we will send you another envelope.
What should I do if I want to opt out of further seasons?
If your circumstances change and you would like to stop participating in any future seasons, please return the monitor you have worn this season and call us on the number below to ensure we don’t send you any further monitors.
Many thanks for your help.
If you require any advice or further information, please call us (free of charge) on 0800 0 276-276, Monday-Saturday, 8am to 7pm or email us at email@example.com.