If you’re wearing a fitness tracker and it (or the app) says that you are burning calories, it doesn’t actually mean that you are losing weight. According to researchers over at the University of Pittsburgh, they are cautioning people that adding an activity tracker does not compute to weight loss. Within the study, which was published recently in JAMA, it states that these devices “may not offer an advantage over standard behavioral weight-loss approaches.” However, the researchers would also like to point out that the way individuals are looking into these devices is very individualized.
Study Says That Wearing a Fitness Tracker Does Not Mean You’re Losing Weight
A distinguished professor in the department of health and physical activity John Jakicic, PhD, designed the aforementioned study in order to allow people to see what would happen when an individual wears a fitness tracker when under a weight-loss program. The researchers of the study recruited 470 overweight men and women that are within the ages of 18 to 35. These proponents have been given instructions about limiting their daily calorie intake, as well as gaining more physical activity.
The participants of the study would meet for a weekly check-in, which would last for half-a-year. Jakicic stated the following: “We generally see really good effectiveness for the first six months on these types of programs, then things start to slip away. We thought if we added an activity tracker to what we know is an already pretty good intervention, that would make it better – that it would boost the effectiveness.” However, what the researchers found out was the opposite; when they have divided the participants into two groups, they have asked one group to wear an activity tracker or record what they have done manually on a website. As for the results, the latter group went out on top.
This is because the people that wear a fitness tracker lost an average of 7.7-pounds since the start of the study, whereas those who were self-tracking their activities lost an average of 13-pounds. According to Jakicic, “We were pretty shocked.”
However, the professor stresses that these results when it comes to wearing a fitness tracker or not just focuses on the overall picture. “That doesn’t mean that fitness trackers aren’t beneficial to some people,” he explains. As a matter of fact, there were individuals that were part of the study that did lose a lot of weight because they were wearing an activity tracker. Ultimately, the study tells that don’t rely on these trackers too much in terms of data, and just push more to achieve your fitness goals.