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Fitbit extends health partnership

By Shannon Williams
Wed 1 Sep 2021

Fitbit and Diabetes New Zealand have announced an extension to their multi-year partnership, are five years of doing business together.

As a key partner to Diabetes NZ, Fitbit will continue to work with the organisation to drive awareness among Kiwis of how healthy lifestyle habits can help play a critical role in the prevention of type 2 diabetes and the management of all types of diabetes.

In New Zealand, close to five percent of the population has been diagnosed with diabetes (predominantly type 2 diabetes), according to the 2020 Social and Economic Cost of Type 2 Diabetes Report. 

According to the report, Type 2 diabetes is increasingly being diagnosed in young people and is related to obesity. It predicted that the number of people with type 2 diabetes in New Zealand will increase by 70-90 percent within 20 years unless urgent action is taken, suggesting that a focus on prevention is needed to manage New Zealand's largest and fastest growing health crisis, outside of the global pandemic.

"While the pandemic has clearly been top of mind for many of us, diabetes remains one of the most significant health issues that Asia and New Zealand face today, with an estimated 227 million people living with type II diabetes, half of which go undiagnosed," says Steve Morley, director of Fitbit Health Solutions International and APAC for Fitbit at Google.

"Wearables can help promote the adoption of healthy lifestyle habits, which in turn can have a positive effect on the prevention and management of type II diabetes."

An achievement of longstanding partnership is the annual Fitbit MoveMeant Challenge. The marquee event has seen influential Kiwis step up to the challenge, by participating in two weeks of healthy competition aiming to achieve the highest step count, all to raise awareness and funds for Diabetes NZ. 

Over the past five years the challenge has raised upwards of NZ$263,000 for the cause. Building on the success of previous years, the next Fitbit MoveMeant Challenge will kick off in March 2022.

The last MoveMeant Challenge in March 2020 saw participants enter a Level 4 lockdown on Day 1 of the challenge. Despite this, several high-profile participants, including household names such as Adam Blair, Erin Simpson and the late Sir Eion Edgar, kept up their steps and took part in socially distanced daily walks, raising awareness for the cause.

"We know a persons risk of progressing from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes can be roughly halved if they exercised more and take steps toward leading a healthy lifestyle, and that these changes can also help with the management of diabetes," says Heather Verry, chief executive at Diabetes NZ.

"Wearable brands, like Fitbit, can play an important role to actively encourage Kiwis to make that change."

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