JAMA report: bad news for use of activity trackers for weight loss programs

JAMA report: bad news for use of activity trackers for weight loss programs

The Sept. 20, 2016 issue of JAMA includes, “Effect of Wearable Technology Combined With a Lifestyle Intervention on Long-term Weight Loss; The IDEA Randomized Clinical Trial.

This study compared weight loss programs using a standard protocol and an enhanced protocol using an activity tracker.  To cut to the chase, the authors conclude: 

Among young adults with a BMI between 25 and less than 40, the addition of a wearable technology device to a standard behavioral intervention resulted in less weight loss over 24 months. Devices that monitor and provide feedback on physical activity may not offer an advantage over standard behavioral weight loss approaches.

mhconcierge.com’s take:  This study supports concerns that the benefits of activity trackers, at least for most people, have been overstated.  People who are highly motivated to improve their fitness seem to like them, and to benefit from them – but they are already probably on track with a wellness program and use their tracker to enhance what they are already doing. 

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