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Fitness Trackers May Not Help You Lose Weight PDF Print Email
A recent study has looked at whether fitness trackers that people wear helped them lose more weight and suggested they don’t offer any benefit.
The study monitored 471 overweight people aged between 18 and 35 over 2 years. Fitness trackers contain technology normally worn on the wrist like a watch that monitors activity and provides feedback.
The research found they may not offer any benefit over standard weight-loss programmes.
This was one of the first studies into fitness trackers and the participants followed a calorie-controlled diet, an increasing activity plan and had counselling sessions.
After six months, half of the participants were given a wearable tracker that recorded activity into a computer as well as diet.
The other half were simply told to just carry on following the weight loss programme and monitor their activity and diet themselves.
The researchers from the University of Pittsburgh found the volunteers with a fitness tracker lost less weight than the others by the end of the study.  Those with a fitness tracker lost an average of 3.5 kg while those who followed the programme by monitoring themselves lost an average of 5.9 kg.
The research was led by Dr John Jakicic who felt it was possible that those using the fitness trackers felt they could reward themselves with treats more often than those without the wearable technology but there was no conclusive proof.
He said: "People have a tendency to use gadgets like these for a while and then lose interest with time as the novelty wears off.
"And we did see a drop off in the usage data as the study went on."
The results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Obesity has increased rapidly across the developed world in recent years and is a major issue public health bodies are trying to tackle.
A whole range of different diets and weight loss programmes and products have come on to the have gained popularity.
It is probably true that fitness trackers are more effective for some people than others, however, someone determined to lose weight will, and following a low-calorie diet combined with regular exercise will work. There are no short cuts, special diets or ‘get thin quick’ schemes.  It takes some effort and determination but there is support and help available to anyone serious about losing weight – and it is just as important to keep the weight off once it has been lost.
Your local pharmacy can be a good place to start for advice.