Slim Blog

Wearable devices and the weight loss conundrum

26th October 2016

If you’re on a long-term healthy diet or exercise program, you’ve perhaps considered tracking your activity with a wearable device. Considering the research that’s emerging on the subject, this may not lead to additional weight loss.

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Spread over 24 months, the study discovered that people using wearable activity trackers lost 5.29lbs less than a similarly number of people on a similar program who used a website to track their progress.

Telling everyone that using an activity monitor will help them to lose weight, or saying that these wearable technologies do not help in weight loss, are equally untrue conclusions to come to. The entire issue is still being studied.

A research study was recently conducted amongst 471 adults, who were 18 to 35 years old and overweight to moderately obese, in Pittsburgh, USA.

The group first met for weekly sessions to monitor weight change and talk about diet and exercise strategies to lose weight. Over the next year and a half, groups met monthly, in addition to monthly phone calls and weekly text sessions with counsellors, which prompted engagement in weight loss behaviours.

All the participants had agreed-to calorie intake goals and recorded their intake in diaries or web-based applications. Also prescribed to them were 100-300 minutes a week, of moderate to vigorous exercise.

Six months thereafter, half of participants began monitoring their diet and physical activity using a website; while the other half were provided with a an upper arm, wearable activity tracker. The device tracked steps, hours slept and calories burned.

Two years into the program, the wearable device group had lost an average of 7.72lbs, as compared to 13lbs in the group using only web-based tracking.

According to the report in a leading medical publication, both groups had improved upon body composition, fitness, physical activity and diet.

The study concluded that it was not that activity trackers don’t work. Reality is, there are many factors that affect weight loss. Hence it was difficult to say that these devices weren’t worthwhile or unnecessary for people just based on weight loss.

Wearable devices that get you to exercise are worthwhile. However if used as a fashion statement, or talking point, then the entire activity doesn’t amount to anything much.

While monitoring activity behaviour, and diet, is important to weight management; making it easier to do that and in real-time, is what comprises the golden egg hunt.

Managing weight requires you to eat a sensible number of calories, aim at getting a 30 to 60 minute walk a day, and complementing it with moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

Getting a wearable device will help you achieve this great; but careful in the way you actually use it.

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