Your wrist weight loss? Fitness trackers may not help.
Fitness trackers are still popular, but do they make us fit? Perhaps not, according to one study, young people who are overweight or obese use tiny tracking tools to lose weight.
The 470 people in the study were given a low-calorie diet and asked for more exercise. They all started to lose weight. For half a year, half of the group began to report on their diet and exercise. The other half had fitness trackers to monitor their activities.
Two years later, both groups were equally active. But fitness trackers lost weight.
Wait. What? We asked John Jakicic, a professor of health and physical activity at the university of Pittsburgh, and the lead author of the study, why.
“These techniques focus on physical activity, such as taking steps to make the heart beat faster,” says Jakicic. “People say, ‘oh, I exercised a lot today, and now I can eat more. And they may eat more than they eat. ”
It is also possible to achieve daily fitness goals and steps that might motivate a person, he said, but missing out on the same goals may prevent another person.
The device, published on Tuesday in JAMA, a journal of the American medical association, is not the wrist tracker that many people use today, such as Fitbits, Jawbones, Apple watch and Nike. The device is worn around the upper arm. Instead of using the heart rate to assess activity, as some devices do, it measures the heat generated by the exercise.
However, he said the results of the study were related to today’s equipment.
Overall, participants with no fitness trackers lost 13 pounds, while the technical improvement group lost 7.7 pounds. They ranged in age from 18 to 35, with a bmi between 25 and 39. The study hopes to see if helping young people lose weight at an early age can reduce weight gain in middle age.
We contacted Fitbit to see what we thought of the study.
“We have full confidence in the positive results from the Fitbit platform, including our wearables,” the company said in a statement. He added that researchers used Fitbits and similar devices in clinical studies.
Dr Mitesh Patel, an assistant professor of medicine at the university of Pennsylvania, said: “there is not much long-term research on wearable technology – if any. Patel also studied fitness trackers but was not involved in the study. Patel said the study was the longest, “which is why this study is important, and we need more research to show what wearable technology can do and what it can’t do.”
Some short-term studies have taken into account fitness trackers, with mixed results. Jakicic also conducted a study that found fitness trackers could replace counseling in weight-loss programs. But another found that users were bored and gave up their wristbands a few months later.
Eventually, Mr. Patel said, the devices are the most effective, and those who use them have been committed to tracking their fitness. People with little motivation may not get the same results.
“Overall, assigning a wearable technology doesn’t make a big difference,” says Jakicic.
So, you should put your Fitbit? Not yet. According to Jakicic, combining this technology with behavioral research can help scientists identify which groups can benefit from fitness trackers and even design more dynamic interfaces.
“These devices have some really cool technologies, but how do you use them in ways that help people? Jakicic asked. “It’s a science in itself.”