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Fitbit devices helping children with type 1 diabetes improve physical activity levels



UHL Conference hears FITBIT devices are helping children with Type 1 Diabetes improve their physical activity levels. Dr John McManus, Training Lead, UL Hospitals Group and Prof Paul Burke, Chief Academic Officer, UL Hospitals Group with Dr Bing Wei Thaddeus Soh Gold Medal winner at the Annual NCHD Conference at University Hospital Limerick. Photo: Brian Arthur Photography

FITBIT devices are helping children with Type 1 Diabetes improve their physical activity levels hears UHL conference

UHL Conference hears FITBIT devices are helping children with Type 1 Diabetes improve their physical activity levels
UHL Conference hears Fitbit helps children with type 1 diabites. Dr Bing Wei Thaddeus Soh, Gold Medal winner at the Annual NCHD Conference at University Hospital Limerick for his research on how Patient DNA Affects Risk of Bleeding while on Blood Thinners. Photo: Brian Arthur Photography

FITBIT devices are helping children with Type 1 Diabetes improve their physical activity levels. That is according to research conducted by Dr Susan Giblin – and presented at the annual NCHD (non-consultant hospital doctor) conference held in University Hospital Limerick.

Dr Giblin’s study examined physical activity levels amongst 30 male and female children between 5 and 17 years who attend the paediatric diabetes service at University Hospital Limerick. To do this, participants were required to wear a FitBit device for five days to monitor their physical activity levels.

Type 1 Diabetes affects more than 2,500 children nationwide. While medication is the main treatment type for children with Type 1 Diabetes, physical activity also helps in managing the condition. Despite the many benefits of taking part in physical activity, international figures suggest that children with the condition are not meeting the recommended daily requirements.




The average daily steps recorded during the five days of the Limerick study was 10,500 with all those taking part perceiving themselves to be ‘active’ or ‘very active.’  The majority of participants enjoyed wearing the device and 83% reported that it acted as a daily reminder to increase their physical activity levels.

“Exercise is an important, modifiable factor for physical, social, emotional and psychological wellbeing. I hope that further research in this area will promote a more holistic integration of physical activity as part of clinical management plans for young people living with chronic conditions such as Type 1 Diabetes”, said Dr Giblin, whose research won her the Silver Medal at this year’s conference.

The annual event aims to help NCHDs enhance their research experience, while providing them with an opportunity to present their research, audit and quality improvement projects from this training year. More than 150 abstracts were submitted in a cross-faculty UHL conference at the Clinical Education and Research Centre (CERC) incorporating paediatrics, surgery, anaesthetics, medicine, obstetrics & gynaecology, the intern network, psychiatry and radiology with prizes for best abstract presentation in each department.

Taking home the top prize was Dr Bing Wei Thaddeus Soh for his research on how a patients DNA might affect their risk of bleeding when on blood thinners following a coronary intervention procedure.  A total of 129 patients who had attended UHL were involved in this study.

 “It was a great honour to win the gold medal at the NCHD conference for my research which examined how patients responded to blood thinners following coronary intervention treatment at University Hospital Limerick. My research showed up to one-third of Irish patients may have increased risk of bleeding when taking the blood thinner Clopidogrel.

I’m very grateful for the support of my colleagues and supervisors in the Coronary Care Unit at University Hospital Limerick whose guidance and support made this research possible.  I look forward to making more discoveries with the dedicated team here in University Hospital Limerick, ” said Dr Soh.

The NCHD conference is spearheaded by Training Lead at UL Hospitals Group, Dr John McManus who is committed to promoting education, research and innovation across the Group.

“This annual conference is an important day in the UL Hospitals Group calendar as it allows us the opportunity to celebrate the research of our NCHD colleagues from this training year. More than 150 submissions were received in advance of this conference taking place which is a testament to our NCHDs commitment to research. The breadth and depth of the submissions for this year’s conference is a true credit to their commitment to scientific discovery and the advancement of learning and to applying that learning to improve patient outcomes.” said Dr McManus  

The conference was opened by UL Hospitals Group Chief Operations Officer, Ms Noreen Spillane who acknowledged the hard work and dedication of all NCHDs employed across the sites of UL Hospitals.

“NCHDs make such a great contribution to the care of our patients and provide high standards of clinical excellence. I’m delighted to see this conference taking place for a third consecutive year which celebrates the research and governance work of our NCHD colleagues.

It is also very positive to see the establishment of the national taskforce on NCHD staffing which aims to put in place sustainable workforce planning strategies for this group. This is an important milestone in working to improve the experience of NCHDs working in hospitals across the country,” said Ms Spillane. 

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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.