Results from a review of studies support the premise that fitness trackers encourage us to do more exercise.
Wearable activity trackers motivate us to walk much as 40 minutes more every day, or about 1800 more steps, contributing to 1kg weight loss on average over 5 months.
Approximately 400 studies were reviewed that involved 164,000 individuals worldwide who made use of wearable activity trackers for monitoring their physical activity.
The results highlight the value of low-cost interventions for dealing with an increasing epidemic of health conditions partly the result of too little exercise, which includes mental illness, cancers, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.
The researchers say that even though wearable activity trackers are popular, there’s widespread skepticism regarding their accuracy and effectiveness and whether they promote eating disorders and obsessive behaviors, but the evidence is significantly positive.
Overall, the results from all of the studies reviewed revealed that wearable activity trackers are effective for long periods and for all age groups. They motivate individuals to set goals for losing weight, exercise regularly, and make it part of a routine.
The 1kg weight loss might not appear to be a lot, but according to the researchers, it’s meaningful from a public health perspective.
Dramatic weight loss wouldn’t be expected considering these were lifestyle physical activity studies and not weight loss studies.
About 0.5 kg each year in weight creep is gained by the average individual so losing 1kg over 5 months is significant, particularly when considering that two-thirds of the population are obese or overweight.
Besides the additional weight loss and physical activity related to wearable activity trackers, there’s some evidence that fitness trackers also help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure in individuals with type 2 diabetes and other health problems.
Another benefit is that wearable activity trackers help improve anxiety and depression from increased physical activity.
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