Digital health firm Withings carries out survey into its users’ health behaviour under lockdown

The French company analysed aggregated data from its scales, smartwatches and sleep monitoring devices.
By Tammy Lovell
06:46 am
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Credit: Withings

A global study from French digital health company Withings has analysed the physical activity, weight, sleep patterns, exercise rituals, temperature, night-time breathing disturbances and heart rate irregularities of its users during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Lockdown Lowdown study compares the behaviour of users in countries including the UK, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, the US and China, during the various points of their confinement procedures.

This study was conducted by analysing the anonymous aggregated data from more than two million users of Withings’ connected scales, smart watches, sleep monitoring devices and connected thermometers. 

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To create the data around the self-isolation time period for each country, Withings set each country's start of self-isolation and included data from that date to April 18, 2020. 

The self-isolation data was compared to aggregated data from 1 January 2020 to the self-isolation date for each country.

WHY IT MATTERS

Withings found that globally only 40% of its users have put on more than a pound. In the UK, 38% have gained more than a pound with an average weight gain of 0.35 pounds.

In Europe, Spain registered the steepest decline in daily step count levels of 41%, whereas the UK has only seen an 8% drop.

Duration of sleep has increased in all countries with the British sleeping on average 15 minutes longer a night than before lockdown. The French are getting the most extra sleep with an average of 20 minutes more each night. 

The research found that since self-isolation, people have had fewer sleep heart rate anomalies or irregularities, especially during weekends. In the UK, night heart rate anomalies have decreased by 44% during the weekends and by 38% during the week. This compares to a global decrease of 45% at weekends and 34% during the week. 

Also, activities that allow for social distancing have skyrocketed in popularity.  Globally, yoga is up 42%, hiking up 34%, indoor cycling is up 19% and running has gone up by 18%, according to the survey.

THE LARGER CONTEXT 

Earlier this week Withings announced the launch of its sleep tracking mat, Sleep Analyzer in Europe – which uses advanced sensors to check for the signs of sleep apnea. It follows the release of its latest wearable, ScanWatch, which includes ECG and Sp02 sensors, in January. 

Meanwhile, Fitbit unveiled Sp02 tracking via a software update earlier this year and leaked code for Apple’s next firmware update iOS14, suggests that sleep tracking will be included.  

ON THE RECORD

Mathieu Letombe, CEO of Withings, said: “During these challenging times, we are all having to change our behaviours and find ways to adapt to the new normal. Our Lockdown Lowdown study shows that despite geographical differences, people are finding similar ways to adapt and maintain healthy and active lifestyles.”

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