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Using Technology To Help Kids Stick With A Paediatric Weight Management Program

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Project Members

This project is being undertaken by CHU Sainte Jusinte’s CIRCUIT program (Centre d’Intervention en prévention et en Réadaptation CardiovascUlaIres pour Toute la Famille).

 

The CIRCUIT program offers personalized interventions for children at risk of cardiometabolic disease through use of technology to evaluate patients’ lifestyle behaviours and help them to utilize available resources to improve these behaviours.

“Why It’s Important”

In Quebec, 25% of youth between 6 to 17 years of age are overweight or obese. With the risk of type 2 diabetes increased in this group, preventative strategies and programs are important for the health of our children.

 

The CIRCUIT program has shown to be effective for children to improve lifestyle behaviours (namely blood pressure, adiposity, and fitness levels) for those who complete the program, although CIRCUIT wants to improve access to children who live further in more rural and suburban areas of Quebec.

“Greater accessibility to local treatment across Quebec allows earlier intervention for children at risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This can lead to improved success, prevention of the onset of complications, and can reduce health care costs.”

The CIRCUIT program already uses innovative technologies to evaluate physical activity and sedentary behaviours including:

  • Accelerometer
  • GPS
  • Heart Rate Monitor

However these devices are bulky, making wearing these devices more of a burden to families. Additionally, extracting the data is a complex process.

Use of Technology

Fitbits

Fitbits are able to combine the technologies currently used in the CIRCUIT program into one wearable device, that is less of a burden to wear, and blends in for patients participating in the CIRCUIT program.

They are also easier to upload the data to CIRCUIT team members, allowing an easier compilation of data.

 

Telehealth

Telehealth provides a virtual platform where patients can connect with their CIRCUIT team, making it easier to be in contact more often. This can improve commitment to the program, and could result in better results for patients for improving their health behaviours.

Through virtual Telehealth sessions, the CIRCUIT program will be able to reach a wider group of patients from more remote areas in Québec, who would find it challenging to travel to in-person sessions at CHU Sainte Justine.

Goals of the project

The goal of the project is to help engage kids who are in a program that helps to prevent cardiometabolic disease. Using Fitbits and telehealth, the project hopes to expand to reach kids living all across Quebec.

  1. Add Fitbits and telehealth into the existing CIRCUIT program at CHU Sainte-Justine. After the program and its impact has been tested, it will expand to other clinics in Quebec.
  2. Find out if kids at risk of cardiometabolic disease and their families like the technology used in the project and find it useful.
  3. Learn if the technology can be added to clinics across Quebec to help more patients.

Plan

Phase 1: Test the program at CHU Sainte-Justine to assess if the program is helpful for children at risk of type 2 diabetes

Phase 2: Expand the program to 2 centres in the community (Hôpital Pierre-legardeur and Hôpital régional de Rimouski)

Phase 3: Continue to expand the program across Quebec

Current Status

  • The Fitbit app testing has begun.
  • A network for the telehealth modules of the project has been created
  • The project was scheduled to start in spring 2020, but it has been put on hold due to COVID-19. It will begin again after the CIRCUIT clinic can re-open.