Study suggests your fitness tracker may not assist in weight loss

fitness trackers may hinder weight loss fit core bodymedia armband
Don’t count on a snazzy new fitness tracker to help you lose weight. Sometimes they hinder success, according to Ars Technica.

The results of a two-year study of fitness trackers were just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The researchers found that overweight young adults who had started to lose weight and then added a fitness tracker actually put on more weight over time than did participants who stuck with diet and exercise without a wearable device.

In all, 471 overweight adults aged 18 to 35 who wanted to lose weight were followed in the study. The participants had Body Mass Index (BMI) scores from 25 to less than 40 and an average weight of 210 pounds. The study ran from October 2010 to October 2012.

During the first six months of the study, all participants were put on low-calorie diets and prescribed fitness plans. They also logged their progress in diet diaries and attended weekly group sessions. At the end of six months, all had lost weight, 17-19 pounds on average.

For the next 18 months, 237 of the participants were given fitness tracker armbands with a website on which to monitor their diet and physical activity. A second group of 233 participants self-monitored their diet and physical activity using a website, but without a fitness wearable.

At the end of the study, after a total of 24 months, many had regained some of the weight loss from the 6-month initial period. Those who used fitness trackers ended the study eight pounds lighter on average than when they started the 24-month study. Those who did not use wearables weighed on average 13 pounds less than in the beginning. So people who didn’t use wearables lost an average of 5 more pounds than those who did.

The arm-band tracker the wearable group used was a BodyMedia Fit mobile and web interface. Jawbone bought BodyMedia in 2013 and stopped making the Fit wearable and shut down the website in January 2016, according to Mobile Health News. The study was not a test of the specific wearable, however, but a study of the effect of wearable tracking technology overall.

In trying to interpret the results of the study, when comparing the addition of wearables to conventional weight loss programs, the lead researcher, John Jakicic, of the University of Pittsburgh told  JAMA, “I think we have to be a little bit cautious about simply thinking that what we can do is just add technology to these already effective interventions and expect better results.”

It’s possible some participants saw their accumulated activity data and took it as an OK to eat more or to make poor food choices. Some may have felt disheartened if they couldn’t keep up with their activity level goals, leading them to give up.

More studies are needed before making final conclusions, which is pretty much always the case with scientific studies and research. Jakicic said it may be a good idea to test different types of devices, but “Probably more importantly, [we should] try to understand for whom and when these devices are actually very effective.” Some may find fitness trackers helpful, but others may be thwarted in their hopes of losing weight.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

Putting on the grits with the Instant Pot pressure cooker

If you want to dip your toe into the low-temperature waters of sous vide, the Anova precision cooker is a good way to start. It has a robust app and an easy-to-use interface that just may convert you to a whole new way of cooking.
Computing

Google denies claim that it’s tracking internet users when incognito mode is on

Google is denying claims leveled against it by rival privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo. The rival alleged that even when incognito mode is on, Google is tracking users in order to deliver personalized search results.
Emerging Tech

Here are the best (and least likely to explode) hoverboards you can buy

With widespread reports of cheap, knock-off Chinese hoverboards exploding, these self-balancing scooters may be getting a rough reputation. They're not all bad, though. Ride in style with our picks for the best -- and safest -- hoverboards
Deals

REI slashed the price of the Garmin Fenix 5, but the sale ends today

The Garmin Fenix 5 is a multisport fitness watch, built almost entirely for use with just about any indoor or outdoor activity you can think of. From now until the end of the day on December 1, you can save $150 on a brand new model.
Emerging Tech

Wearable device spots signs of an opioid overdose, automatically calls for help

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University have developed a wearable device that’s capable of detecting an opioid overdose and sending out an alert to medical personnel. Here's how it works.
Gaming

Seedling for Magic Leap is the most expensive plant you’ll ever take care of

Insomniac Games has officially launched its new game for Magic Leap One, called 'Seedling.' Throughout the game, you can nurture your very own life form wherever you are. In our demo with Seedling, we got to check out if the game is worth…
Mobile

Xiaomi overtakes Apple in unit sales of wearables as market booms

The wearables sales for the third quarter of 2018 are in, and it's all change on the leaderboard, with Xiaomi taking first place from Apple, despite the exceptionally strong Apple Watch Series 4.
Wearables

The Apple Watch Series 4's heart-monitoring ECG feature is now available

Apple officially unveiled the Apple Watch Series 4. From a larger display to a built-in electrical heart sensor, the latest device brings along some notable new features. Here's everything you need to know.
Emerging Tech

This implant goes beyond pacemakers, helps aging hearts beat more vigorously

The FDA's advisory committee has voted to recommend an innovative pacemaker-style gadget be approved in the U.S. The Optimizer Smart Implantable Pulse Generator boosts performance, strength, and pumping ability of weakened heart chambers.
Mobile

Galaxy Watch vs. Apple Watch Series 4: Which one is the smartest?

The Samsung Galaxy Watch and the Apple Watch Series 4 are two of the best smartwatches available today. But which is better? We put the two watches head-to-head to find out which you should buy.
Wearables

The $200 TicWatch C2 smartwatch is now being sold in the U.S. and U.K.

Digital well-being and disconnecting from your phone is one of 2018's big trends. Mobvoi wants you to think about its TicWatch C2 smartwatch as a great way to help you use your phone less.
Deals

The best Apple Watch deals for December 2018

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.
Product Review

Montblanc Summit 2 offers smart functionality but still looks good with a suit

Montblanc’s Summit 2 is the first smartwatch to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor. It’s feature packed, with GPS, NFC for Google Pay, and a heart rate sensor, but it also has the classic timepiece look.