Think those fancy gadgets around your wrists are doing what they're supposed to be doing? Think again, says a new study.
A new study is making a very bold claim: those fitness trackers that have become so popular in recent years may be completely useless — at least when it comes to losing weight.
The study found that for young adults who were on a reasonably healthy diet and exercise program over the long term didn’t benefit at all from a wearable device in terms of weight loss, according to a statement from the University of Pittsburgh School of Education.
Researchers tracked people who wore the devices for 24 months, and found that they lost 2.4 kilograms less than a group on a similar program but using a website to track their progress instead. Scientists examined 471 adults between the ages of 18 and 35 who were overweight to moderately obese.
All participants self-reported their calorie intake, and were prescribed 100 to 300 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous exercise. The study found that after two years, people with a wearable device lost an average of 3.5 kilograms compared to 5.9 kilograms for those who used web-tracking.
“While usage 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 behavioral counseling for weight loss that includes physical activity and reduced calorie intake does not improve weight loss or physical activity engagement. Therefore, within this context, these devices should not be relied upon as tools for weight management in place of effective behavioral counseling for physical activity and diet,” said John Jakicic, the study’s lead researcher and chair of Pitt’s Department of Health and Physical Activity.