5 On Your Side

Study: For many, fitness trackers don't lead to weight loss

Posted November 24

Fitness trackers track activity, numbers and even sleep. For some people, like trainer Amanda Duerk, a fitness tracker actually helped her drop 40 pounds of post-pregnancy baby weight.

“After I got to my goal weight, I stopped looking at it because I didn’t need it anymore,” she said.

But what if a person doesn’t necessarily need to lose weight?

A 2016 study tracked 800 adults for a year. Most wore Fitbits and logged between 50,000 and 70,000 steps per week. After six months, none of them showed improved weight or blood pressure. After a year, 90 percent of participants in the study had stopped using their Fitbit altogether.

Steps alone won’t make changed happen. Experts say people need an intense exercise regimen and a healthy diet.

For those who simply want to track activity, Consumer Reports compared accuracy on steps and heart rate as well as water resistance and ease of use on several devices.

The Fitbit Surge, priced at $250, was top rated along with the Tom Tom Spark Cardio Plus Music for $130.

Another highly rated tracker was the Garmin Vivo Smart HR for $150.

The makers of the Fitbit told Consumer Reports that they continue to invest in development to enhance user engagement and help people achieve their health and fitness goals.

“Fitbit continues to invest in the development of new devices and innovative motivational tools and social features to further enhance user engagement and help individuals achieve their health and fitness goals,” the company said.

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