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article imageWhy your fitness wearable might be working against you

By Tim Sandle     Dec 25, 2016 in Technology
Been piling on the pounds over the Holiday season? This year there are even more apps and connected devices aiming to help you begin 2017 in fitter fare. But will these work? Not according to a new survey.
The issue is whether wearable technology really helps you to lose weight. Despite slick marketing, this may not be the case according to a new study. The research reveals that fitness devices do not seem to help people lose weight.
For the study, some 470 people, medically classified as overweight, agreed to attend a weight loss group over a period of two years. Half of the subjects were placed into a standard weight-loss group where the recommendation was to consume a low-calorie diet and to undertake moderate physical activity. The other half were put into a group that undertook the same challenges; the difference was this group were given fitness-related wearable technology six months into the program. At the same time, text message alerts and telephone counselling were added to both groups.
The outcome was fascinating: the group given the wearables lost some weight (seven pounds on average), but this was significantly less than the people who did not use the devices (13 pounds lost on average).
Discussing the findings with Time Magazine, John Jakicic, of the University of Pittsburgh explains: "The whole hypothesis was that wearables would be helpful, and they worked just the opposite. But that makes the study even more intriguing."
As to the reason, the researchers speculate that the wearable technology creates a false sense of security. People look at the devices, think they have achieved enough by reaching a pre-programmed goal, and stop exercising for the day and perhaps also eat more.
As a note of balance, Professor John Jakicic works with Weight Watchers International and his research was sponsored by Jawbone Inc. Jawbone develops and sells wearable technology such as wristbands and portable audio devices, wireless speakers, Bluetooth headsets, and related technology.
The research is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The paper is titled "Effect of Wearable Technology Combined With a Lifestyle Intervention on Long-term Weight Loss: The IDEA Randomized Clinical Trial."
More about wearable tech, Fitness, Fitbit, Diet, Weight loss
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