You’ve seen them everywhere, from the arm of a park runner to the hand of a corporate appropriate adult, but does the fitness tracker actually help in the weight loss process?
As the number of these devices has grown exponentially and seems to be ever-increasing, researchers have decided to give an answer to the weight question from a free-standing position and disregard any previously published company-funded test results.
As one the longest and largest studies has centralized its data and gathered its results, the lifespan of fitness trackers doesn’t seem to be that optimistic as results have shown them to be of limited, or even no effect on a long-term basis health situation. As most of the studies published up-to-date have been of short or limited duration and spread, the current test comes to show an enlarged approach to the question and also an innovative one.
The study followed a number of 800 members for a year-long period. The volunteering participants, who were all chosen at random and were mostly office job working adults, aged 21 to 65, were both user and non-users of the tracking devices and were split into a number of focus groups.
The randomized order placed them into four groups with the following attributes: one group was asked to wear the Fitbit every day, and was a monetary incentive if they could walk a minimum number of 50.000 per week. The second group was placed under the same instructions but they had to donate the money incentive to a charity. The third group received only the Fitbit while the fourth and last group didn’t receive anything and was used as a control.
The results were not encouraging. By the six months mark the only participants to walk more were the members of the first group, but they didn’t register any weight loss or health improvement, and by the end of the 12 months period, more than 90 percent of the volunteers had already given up their Fitbits.
Eric Finklestein, PH.D. a lead author was surprised by the outcome as of the three incentives handed out – money, charity, a better health – neither seemed to determine an impact on the groups’ health outcome.
Scientists continue to analyze the results as specialists theorize better results for people who are more on the heavier side or have high blood pressure levels (as opposed to the relatively fit test members) or for a different type of walking as Finklestein would suggest a greater benefit in faster-walking cases.
Still, as all scientist seem to agree, weight loss is not determined solely by walking, even if a brisker pace would surely help, it is related more to a sustained effort in running and exercise, a healthy eating diet and a lifelong commitment to yourself.
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