Fitness trackers didn’t lead to weight loss, low cholesterol, blood pressure: Study

Activity trackers measuring people’s every move may not be doing that much for their health bottom lines.

The wearable devices appear to have “little benefit” when it comes to reducing blood pressure and cholesterol, or even helping people to lose significant weight, a new analysis published in the American Journal of Medicine has found.

About a quarter of U.S. adults, more than 56 million, are using a wearable device at least once a month, according to the research firm eMarketer.

Many companies are also encouraging the use of wearable fitness trackers as part of their workplace wellness programs.

The trackers are easy to use and do motivate people to move more, which can help with overall long-term health. But the studies showed the increased movement rarely lead to major changes in health outcomes, said lead author Ara Jo, a clinical assistant professor in the department of health services research, management and policy at the University of Florida — at least when people use them on their own, without feedback from a doctor, nutritionist or trainer.

“The weight loss findings are pretty surprising,” Jo told TODAY. “I thought that wearable devices would definitely help to lose weight, at some point, because they make people move, but apparently not.”

“They can motivate people to avoid a sedentary lifestyle, but that does not change people’s lifestyle to be [adequately] active,” she added.

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