Got a New Fitness Tracker? Don’t Depend on It for Weight Loss, Says U Pitt Study

University of Pittsburgh study - fitness tracker not an advantage for weight loss

I say this in all seriousness, but the results of a University of Pittsburgh study show that simply wearing a fitness tracker isn’t going to help you lose weight. Duh! Well, I could have told you that for free!

To be fair to Pitt, the study doesn’t actually say that. CNET, which reported this, does. So, I’m going hold CNET to it rather than Pitt.

The actual study is quite interesting. It aimed to find out whether “tech-enhanced” weight loss was more effective than “standard behavioral weight loss intervention.” That’s quite different from showing that wearing fitness trackers can’t help you lose weight.

But nitty-gritty aside, the study revealed some key findings, among which was the fact that the standard intervention group lost a mean of 5.9 kilograms, while the technology-enhanced intervention group only showed a mean weight loss of 3.5 kilograms. The study was conducted over a 24-month period with assessments every 6 months.

While the finding may suggest that tech-assisted weight loss is not necessarily better than traditional methods, actual results depend on the person in question. What’s clear, however, is that merely wearing a fitness tracker has little to do with whether or not you lose more weight.

Is that a downer for those who own fitness trackers? Absolutely not. Some people find that it helps them stay more disciplined and meet specific activity targets, which is a benefit on its own. In addition, fitness trackers also tell you if you’re getting enough sleep, and about the quality of sleep that you’re getting. Moreover, it gives you valuable information about your overall health status.

As such, owning and wearing a fitness tracker may not be an advantage, but to a health-conscious person it is certainly not a disadvantage or a “useless” piece of technology.

What it boils down to is your resolve, nothing more, nothing less. If you choose to lose weight, make a plan and stick to it, you will. If you want to lose weight but only rely on a fitness tracker to get the job done, you most likely won’t. Otherwise, they’d have called them fitness enhancers, not fitness trackers.

All the Pitt study shows is that wearing a fitness tracker isn’t going to help any more than owning an elliptical or an exercise bike is. But what we can infer from that is that it can definitely act as a motivator to get you moving on the road to weight loss.

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