Fitness trackers do not increase activity enough to noticeably improve health | Society | The Guardian
The participants were assigned to one of four groups – a control group which had no tracker, a group which wore a Fitbit Zip device and the two final groups were given trackers and also offered financial rewards, either cash incentives for themselves or donations to charity for the first six months of the trial.[…] The researchers also measured participants’ levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per week as well as their weight, blood pressure and cardio-respiratory fitness at the start of the study and six and 12 months later. They found that during the first six months of the study, only participants in the cash incentive group recorded increases in physical activity. The mean daily step count among wearers was 11,010 steps in the cash group, 9,280 in the charity group, and 8,550 in the Fitbit group. After a year, those in the cash incentive group had returned to the same levels of physical activity that they recorded at the start of the trial. Advertisement But by contrast, those in the Fitbit group showed improved levels of physical activity, recording an average of an additional 16 minutes of MVPA per week than they did at the start of the trial. However, the authors said that this increase was “probably not enough to generate noticeable improvements in any health outcomes”. They also found that Fitbit and charity participants showed similar step counts to when they were measured at six months.