Fitness trackers, pedometers and all of those kinds of apps are great to help you monitor your physical activity. Millions of people use them. Unfortunately, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that they won’t help you lose weight.
The University of Pittsburgh study, conducted over a 2 year period, involved nearly 500 overweight participants who were trying to lose weight. All dieted and exercised more to do this, with half using a fitness tracker and the other half using nothing.
At the end of the trial, the group that used the fitness tracker actually lost LESS weight than the group that didn’t use one! They lost an average of 8lbs, while the non-users lost about 13lbs. Not a huge difference, but something that you may want to note.
Manufacturers of fitness trackers oppose these results, stating that they’ve improved their technology and that in their own studies, participants were found to lose more weight. In addition, the JAMA study did find that users:
- gradually lost interest in using the fitness tracker that was given to them, as the novelty wore off
- may have been concentrating more on physical activity, allowing themselves to veer away from their diet
This is not to say that you should ditch those fitness trackers altogether, though. If it helps you stay on track and achieve your weight loss goals, then you should probably continue using it.