New Study Says Fitness Trackers Don’t Help Dieters

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Fitness Trackers are supposed to help people stay fit, and many use the technology for weight loss.

But a new study out today says they don’t work for dieting. This could be upsetting to lots of people because the wearable technology can be expensive, time consuming, and many have made the investment to help them lose weight. But this new study from the University of Pittsburgh found dieters who didn’t wear the devices had better success.

You see them everywhere. Wearable technology. Fitness trackers that count steps, and others that calculate calories and more. Most of the gadgets are designed to help people lose weight.

“To our surprise, that actually wasn’t what we found,” explained John M. Jakicic Ph.D who is the Chair of the Department of Physical Activity at the University of Pittsburgh. The new study that appeared in Jama, tracked 471 overweight young adults from 2010 to 2012.

They all received counseling on diet and exercise. 6 months into the study, half used a wearable device to help track physical activity and diet. The group without the wearable technology lost more weight than the group who used the devices. An average of 5.3 pounds more.

“They also might actually give people somewhat of a false sense of security that they don’t pay attention to some of the key behaviors that they otherwise might pay attention to, “ Jakicic explained. “They’re relying on the device or the technology maybe a little bit too much and that may be why we saw a little bit less weight loss in that group,” he added.

Although wearable technology has changed and improved since the study started, researchers also say many people get frustrated with the technology or lose interest.

“Simply going out and investing in wearable technology is probably not going to help your weight loss all that much,” Jakicic explained. Experts say meeting daily fitness goals and step counts might motivate some people, but missing those goals could discourage others.

That could be why they don’t help everyone with weight loss, because people give up.


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