The Journal of the American Medical Association released a new study that shows that wearable fitness trackers, like a FitBit, may actually hinder weightless.
According to the New York Times, the study followed dieting adults over a period of 18 months. Individuals who wore fitness trackers lost significantly less weight than those who did not.
"The results suggest that activity monitors may not change our behavior in the way we expected, and raise interesting questions about the tangled relationships between exercise, eating, our willpower and our waistlines," wrote Gretchen Reynolds of the New York Times.
In the study, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh gathered 500 overweight men and women between the ages of 18 and 35. For the first six months of the study, the group maintained a steady diet and exercise regimen and attended counseling. Each of the participants lost weight.
After six months, the group was split in half. One group was given instructions to log their progress online, while the others were given fitness trackers that would keep a diary of their physical activity statistics.
After 18 months, the group reconvened and shared their results. The group that wore fitness trackers weighed just eight pounds less than they had at the start of the study, compared to the group who logged their data online, who weighed 13 pounds less.
"We were definitely surprised," John Jakicic, a distinguished professor in the department of health at the University of Pittsburgh and the study’s lead author, told the New York Times. Jakicic linked the lack of weightloss in individuals wearing the tracker to a lack of responsibility. He also said that it is possible wearers realized they would not reach their exercise goal and gave up.
This could be bad news for millions of people who are using wearable fitness technology — Fool.com reports that 21.3 million FitBits were sold in 2015 — but the key thing to remember is that exercise (and everything else) is what you make of it. If you are determined to succeed, anything is possible.
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