Wearables for Measuring Health Effects of Climate Change–Induced Weather Extremes: Scoping Review

Resource type
Journal Article
Wearables for Measuring Health Effects of Climate Change–Induced Weather Extremes: Scoping Review
Although climate change is one of the biggest global health threats, individual-level and short-term data on direct exposure and health impacts are still scarce. Wearable electronic devices (wearables) present a potential solution to this research gap. Wearables have become widely accepted in various areas of health research for ecological momentary assessment, and some studies have used wearables in the field of climate change and health. However, these studies vary in study design, demographics, and outcome variables, and existing research has not been mapped.In this review, we aimed to map existing research on wearables used to detect direct health impacts and individual exposure during climate change-induced weather extremes, such as heat waves or wildfires.We conducted a scoping review according to the PRISMA-ScR (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews) framework and systematically searched 6 databases (PubMed [MEDLINE], IEEE Xplore, CINAHL [EBSCOhost], WoS, Scopus, Ovid [MEDLINE], and Google Scholar). The search yielded 1871 results. Abstracts and full texts were screened by 2 reviewers (MK and IM) independently using the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The inclusion criteria comprised studies published since 2010 that used off-the-shelf wearables that were neither invasive nor obtrusive to the user in the setting of climate change-related weather extremes. Data were charted using a structured form, and the study outcomes were narratively synthesized.The review included 55,284 study participants using wearables in 53 studies. Most studies were conducted in upper-middle-income and high-income countries (50/53, 94%) in urban environments (25/53, 47%) or in a climatic chamber (19/53, 36%) and assessed the health effects of heat exposure (52/53, 98%). The majority reported adverse health effects of heat exposure on sleep, physical activity, and heart rate. The remaining studies assessed occupational heat stress or compared individual- and area-level heat exposure. In total, 26% (14/53) of studies determined that all examined wearables were valid and reliable for measuring health parameters during heat exposure when compared with standard methods.Wearables have been used successfully in large-scale research to measure the health implications of climate change-related weather extremes. More research is needed in low-income countries and vulnerable populations with pre-existing conditions. In addition, further research could focus on the health impacts of other climate change-related conditions and the effectiveness of adaptation measures at the individual level to such weather extremes.
Jmir mhealth and uhealth
Call Number
openalex: W4288048593
openalex: W4288048593
Koch, M., Matzke, I., Huhn, S., Gunga, H., Maggioni, M. A., Munga, S., Obor, D., Sié, A., Boudo, V., Bunker, A., Dambach, P., Bärnighausen, T., & Barteit, S. (2022). Wearables for Measuring Health Effects of Climate Change–Induced Weather Extremes: Scoping Review. Jmir Mhealth and Uhealth, 10(9), e39532–e39532. https://doi.org/10.2196/39532