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article imageFitness goal of many smart devices is 'meaningless'

By Tim Sandle     Feb 24, 2017 in Technology
Fitness apps and fitness devices are increasingly popular. How much good they do is an associated area of debate. One recent discussion has centered on the worth of the 10,000-a-day step count used by many devices.
Several proprietary fitness apps and wearable technologies, marketed as health and fitness aids, have a 10,000 steps per day target count. This doesn't include Apple, which opts for an energy intensity measure instead. This type of target is generally not a good idea, according to Dr Greg Hager, who is an expert in computer science at Johns Hopkins University. The researcher told The Daily Telegraph that many apps and devices had no real evidence base and in fact the a one-size-fits-all approach could be harmful for some people. The researcher singled out one of the biggest sellers in the market - Fitbit - which uses the 10,000 steps per day target.
This criticism has led to a rebuttal from Fitbit. The company's website states that the 10,000 steps goal equates to around five miles. Here it is suggested that this may aid a person achieving U.S. health guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. To support the 10,000 step target, Fitbit draw on an Edith Cowan University study called "Employee Engagement with a Corporate Physical Activity Program: the Global Corporate Challenge", which provides evidence of the benefits of taking 10,000 steps per day.
However, Dr. Hager counters that a 'one size fits all' approach is inaccurate and often not best for people. He also points out that the 10,000 steps a day goal was drawn, originally, from a small study of Japanese men conducted in 1960. Discussing the 10,000 steps the researcher says "It’s just a number that’s now built into the apps.”
In related news, Digital Journal reported on a study that people who wanted to exercise and lose weight but who did not use a fitness wearable lost more weight when compared with those who relied on wearable technology. This led us to headline the article "Why your fitness wearable might be working against you." There has also been action taken against some wearable device manufacturers about the accuracy of their readings. leading to some devices now carrying warnings that the should not be used for making health or medical decisions based on the collected data.
More about Fitness, fitness app, Exercise, step count, Fitbit
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