BAD NEWS, speed walkers. Research has found that wearable fitness trackers are not quite all they're cracked up to be and really don't do much of anything.
There is a bit more to it than that. The University of Pittsburgh School of Education's Department of Health and Physical Activity wouldn't have spent two years working out that weight loss requires exercise and a change of diet and behaviour. Surely?
Or maybe it would. A release from the university explained that a 24-month trial found that people who wore a fitness tracking device while exercising actually lost less weight than people who did not wear a tracking device and just watched what they ate and did some exercise.
"At the conclusion of a 24-month trial, researchers observed that use of a wearable device in combination with a behavioural weight loss programme resulted in less weight loss when compared with those receiving only the behavioural weight loss programme," said the official information.
"In fact, participants without physical activity trackers showed nearly twice the weight loss benefits at the end of the 24 months. Participants who used wearable devices reported an average weight loss of 7.7 pounds, while those who partook only in health counselling reported an average loss of 13 pounds."
The researchers basically found that the addition of plastic and chips to your arm doesn't offer any advantage over standard weight loss approaches even when they monitor physical activity.
"While use of wearable devices is currently a popular method to track physical activity - steps taken per day or calories burned during a workout - our findings show that adding them to behavioural counselling, or weight loss that includes physical activity and reduced calorie intake, does not improve weight loss or physical activity engagement," said John Jakicic, lead researcher and chairman of the university department.
"Therefore, within this context, these devices should not be relied on as tools for weight management in place of effective behavioural counselling for physical activity and diet."
A least one wristness the fitness business had something to say about the research. We don't need to say that it was not imprressed."The University of Pittsburgh study published in JAMA did not use Fitbit devices or the Fitbit app, so we cannot speak to their specific findings," said Fitbit.
"As the leader in the wearables category, we are confident in the positive results users have seen from the Fitbit platform, including our wearable devices, Aria wifi smart scale, and Fitbit app." µ
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