Are Fitness Trackers Making Us Fat?

Are Fitness Trackers Making Us Fat?

So you wear your FitBit daily, but does this mean that you are more active than before you bought it?

A new study has revealed that the use of one of these fitness trackers wont be enough to keep you slim, and reliance on a fitness tracker could actually be making you fat.

What research was undertaken?

During the study (published by JAMA), 471 overweight people aged between 18 and 35 were randomly assigned to one of two groups.

Both groups were given diet advice, instructions for exercise and group counselling sessions.

The difference between the two groups were that after the trial reached the 6 month mark, one group was given a fitness tracker (Fit Core by BodyMedia) with the other group receiving none.

What was the result of this study?

While both groups lost weight after the two year study had ended, it was revealed that those who used the fitness trackers lost 5.3 fewer pounds than those who didn’t, but why is that?

A possible reason is that the fitness tracker is not as accurate as you may think, leading to a false sense of security.

For example, you may eat more than you thought, or perhaps not get as much exercise (burn enough calories) as the tracker suggests.

Fitness TrackerAnother possible reason is that the fitness tracker could leave you disheartened.

For instance, if you are recommended to get 10,000 steps daily but have barely reached that number you may just give up half way through the day, rather than giving it your best shot.

Even if you fail to reach those 10,000 steps, giving up certainly wont help.

Problems with the study

While the results were a little disappointing, it is worth noting that the tracker they used was an older model that has since been discontinued.

This model did not even have a display to show your results instantly, you had to manually log into a website to see your progress.

Nowadays modern fitness trackers have this information readily available, so perhaps the results would be different if one of these was used for the study.

Regardless, you should rely solely on a fitness tracker. Even though they are improving they can still give inaccurate results.

Sometimes, measuring manually and noting down your progress with a pen and paper is still the best approach. Perhaps you could use both and compare your results?


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