Many people have started investing in fitness trackers in their effort to improve their weight loss goals and live healthier lives. Not only are these devices remaining highly popular, but many people feel like this is the best way to track their overall activity as they work out and try to get fit.
While fitness trackers may be keeping a log of how many steps a person takes or how well they sleep, that does not necessarily mean it is making weight loss any easier. In fact, according to a new study, it would seem that these devices are actually making it harder for people to lose the weight.
In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh looked at the overall effects of the use of wearable technology on one’s long-term weight loss when combined with what one would call a lifestyle intervention. The study asked young adults who were obese or generally overweight to wear the fitness trackers as a tool to help them lose weight.
As Science Daily explained, what the study was able to uncover was that these wearable fitness trackers do not actually help people in their weight loss efforts. Instead, it would seem as if less weight was ultimately lost by the people using the trackers to monitor their daily progress.
According to NPR, 470 individuals who took part in the study were put on diet with lower calories and also asked to exercise more. All of the participants began by losing weight, but six months in half the group was given fitness trackers to monitor their progress, while the other half had to self-report on their activity and diets.
After two years of taking part in the study, it was clear that both of the groups were equal in their activity levels. However, the people who were using their fitness trackers to monitor their progress actually loss less weight than the people who self-reported.
In discussing the results of the study the lead author, John Jakicic, explained that the reason behind these results could be due to the fact that these trackers only kept track of actual physical activity and getting one’s heart rate up. Based on the numbers recorded, people often feel like they have done so much that they can splurge and maybe eat more than they normally would. The other reason could also be that when some people do not meet their daily goals it ends up discouraging them from keeping up with their exercise and goals.
Ultimately, while there is no clear-cut explanation for why the fitness trackers were not as effective in helping people reach their weight loss goals, it was certainly clear that the people who self-reported did better at losing weight. That is not to say these wearables are not helpful in keeping track of activity, but do not guarantee that a person will lose weight because they use one. For more CDA News, follow our tweets on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
By Dorothea James
Photo Courtesy Walmart