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What Doctors Don't Tell You

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January 2020 (Vol. 4 Issue 11)

Fitness monitors don’t help you lose weight
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Fitness monitors don’t help you lose weight image

We’ve all seen the serious jogger wired up to a fit watch or an arm monitor—but don’t envy them, the devices aren’t very useful. In fact, those who wear them lose only half as much weight as those who don’t keep track, a new study has found.

After two years, those wearing the monitors had lost 7.7 pounds (3.49 kg), but those who just followed a weight-loss programme without using them had lost 13 pounds (5.89 kg).

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh aren’t sure why this should have happened. While the monitors give feed-back and even encouragement, those who just stick to the programme better are losing the most weight—and it’s the consistency that really matters, they say.

The researchers recruited 470 people who were aged between 18 and 35 and had a body-mass index (BMI) score of between 25 and 39. All were put on low-calorie diets, and were given an exercise programme, as well as frequent counselling on health and nutrition.

Then, after the first six months, half carried on with the counselling sessions and the rest were instead given a device to monitor diet and physical activity, which they wore on their upper arm.


(Source: JAMA, 2016; doi: 10.1001/jama.2016.12858)

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