The study found those that didn't use a fitness tracker lost around twice as much weight as those who used them on a daily basis.
If, like millions of people, you use a fitness tracker, the likelihood is that it is preventing you from losing weight according to a new study.
The explosion of apps and trackers such as Fitbits to help us stay motivated with our daily fitness regime has caused many of us to be more conscious of the number of steps we take or just how much or little exercise we do. They have become so popular because we believe they are helping us achieve our weight loss goals.
However a new study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh have found people who don’t use fitness tracking devices actually lose less weight than those who don’t.
Lead researcher on the study Dr. John Jakicic is concerned at the findings because more needs to be done about the growing obesity epidemic gripping the U.S. and other countries around the world.
“The findings of our study are important because effective long-term treatments are needed to address America’s obesity epidemic,” stated Jakicic. “We’ve found that questions remain regarding the effectiveness of wearable devices and how to best use them to modify physical activity and diet behaviors in adults seeking weight loss.”
The study involved 471 participants who were all between the ages of 18 and 35 with a high BMI reading of between 25 and 40. For six months the group were monitored through dietary changes, physical activity and therapy. The group was then separated into two with one half being given wearable fitness trackers and accompanying data, and the other half just access to a website to monitor physical activity.
The team found the group who wore the trackers lost an overall average weight of 7.7 pounds while the group without the trackers lost on average 13 pounds each. The results show that despite seemingly giving us motivation in tracking our movements, it makes no difference to overall weight loss if not used.
“While usage of wearable devices is currently a popular method to track physical activity – steps taken per day or calories burned during a workout – out findings show that adding them to behavioral counseling or weight loss that includes physical activity and reduced calorie intake does not improve weight loss or physical activity engagement,” Jakicic said. “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.”
Details of the study were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.