Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases, and its prevalence is rapidly increasing. The management of glucose in T1D is challenging, as youth must consider a myriad of factors when making diabetes care decisions. This task often leads to significant hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, and glucose variability throughout the day, which have been associated with short- and long-term medical complications. At present, most of what is known about each of these complications and the health behaviors that may lead to them have been uncovered in the clinical setting or in laboratory-based research. However, the tools often used in these settings are limited in their ability to capture the dynamic behaviors, feelings, and physiological changes associated with T1D that fluctuate from moment to moment throughout the day. A better understanding of T1D in daily life could potentially aid in the development of interventions to improve diabetes care and mitigate the negative medical consequences associated with it. Therefore, there is a need to measure repeated, real-time, and real-world features of this disease in youth. This approach is known as ecological momentary assessment (EMA), and it has considerable advantages to in-lab research. Thus, this viewpoint aims to describe EMA tools that have been used to collect data in the daily lives of youth with T1D and discuss studies that explored the nuances of T1D in daily life using these methods. This viewpoint focuses on the following EMA methods: continuous glucose monitoring, actigraphy, ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, personal digital assistants, smartphones, and phone-based systems. The viewpoint also discusses the benefits of using EMA methods to collect important data that might not otherwise be collected in the laboratory and the limitations of each tool, future directions of the field, and possible clinical implications for their use.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere27027
JournalJMIR Diabetes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Accelerometer
  • Actigraphy
  • Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring
  • Continuous glucose monitoring
  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • MHealth
  • Mobile phone
  • Personal digital assistant
  • Smartphone


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