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The Biomedical Engineering blog is the place for conversation and discussion about topics related to engineering principles of the medical field. Here, you'll find everything from discussions about emerging medical technologies to advances in medical research. The blog's owner, Chelsey H, is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with a degree in Biomedical Engineering.

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Unfit Fitbits

Posted October 25, 2016 12:00 AM by Chelsey H

So…they were probably too good to be true. Recent reports have come out showing that fitness trackers may not be making you more fit.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that people who did not use fitness trackers lost an average of five pounds more over a 12 month period than those who used one.

The study investigated whether regular use of commercially available activity trackers is effective for producing and sustaining weight loss. The trial was 24 months long and followed 470 individuals between the ages of 18 and 35 with a body mass index between 25 and 39 at the start of the trial. Approximately 77 percent of the participants were women.

Everyone was placed on a low-calorie diet, increased physical activity, and attended group-counseling sessions on health and wellness. After 6 months half the participants were given a wearable device and half continued health-counseling sessions on a monthly basis.

Participants who utilized wearable devices reported an average weight loss of 7.7 pounds, while those who partook only in health counseling reported an average loss of 13 pounds.

Researchers concluded that while the devices allow for ease of tracking physical activity they don’t encourage people to stick to the habits of a healthy lifestyle which is the most important aspect of any weight loss regimen.

The study showed the importance of not only healthy diet and exercise, but also of group health-counseling. This conclusion is further supported by a 2013 Weight Watchers study which showed that those who attended meetings lost more weight than those who just use an app and website.

But don’t ditch your Fitbit yet – both groups did lose weight and many wearables come with a community of other wearers that can be a fun way to help each other reach goals.

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#1

Re: Unfit Fitbits

10/25/2016 1:55 AM

Surprise? A fitbit does not make you fit the same way it does not make you lose weight!

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#2
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Re: Unfit Fitbits

10/25/2016 7:48 AM

People are always looking for a magic bullet or pill.

A fitbit is only a tool, and a tool is only as good as the person who knows how to use it.

My girlfriend joined weightwatchers last spring, in her group there were over 60 participants, turns out that weightwatcher gave away a fitbit for the biggest loser. and my girlfriend lost about 20 pounds in 3 months.

She looks on line and see how many steps she has, if she's short, we would go and talk the dogs for a walk.

Since then, she get a better upgrade and gave me her old one that she won. And I check to see what me steps are, if they are up or down.

My point, losing weight or becoming fit can only come from within.

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#3

Re: Unfit Fitbits

10/25/2016 2:47 PM

Yeah, it's sort of like the treadmill that you use for a clothes rack.

I bought one of those weight loss DVDs and watched it three times. I didn't lose any weight. I don't think it works.

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#4
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Re: Unfit Fitbits

10/25/2016 2:54 PM

Yep. You actually got to do it for it to work.

In the many strange conversations in my life I have been asked a number of times what gym I belong to given I Am apparently seen to be of good healthy stature so that whomever is asking me the question can join.

EVery time I tell them I have never been to a gym. I get all my exercise from working at home. Then tell them if they want to get in shape just show up at my house and I will put you to work to the best of your abilities and not only that, I will pay you to get in better shape.

Never once had one single person take me up on the offer. Not even the Ex.

Apparently getting paid to do manual labor to get in shape is to demeaning. Only paying to get in shape is it worth while.

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#5
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Re: Unfit Fitbits

10/25/2016 2:57 PM

try changing the channel... and get back to use with a status report

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#10
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Re: Unfit Fitbits

10/26/2016 1:30 PM

Ok, I'm back. Just joking about the DVD. (I actually walk 5 miles on the treadmill every morning.)

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Re: Unfit Fitbits

10/26/2016 3:19 PM

Oh, I hope your were joking..., but I'm sure some where there's someone on a couch with a box full of DVD of jane fonda-like workout and weight loss DVD's in a box by the TV... wondering where the dam TV remote is....

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#6

Re: Unfit Fitbits

10/26/2016 9:25 AM

I purchased a Fitbit at the beginning of the year because the company I work for provides less expensive health benefits if we participate in a Wellness program and the Fitbit made it easier to track my progress. I was also at the end of a prolonged pulmonary illness that had kept me from exercising to any great degree for nearly two years. The Fitbit did help me to keep track of my exercise and also as importantly my calorie intake. I have lost 60 pounds since January and I now weigh what I did 33 years ago in eighth grade (133 pounds). I run 7.5 miles a day and I feel the best I have felt in nearly 20 years.

Clearly this is only one experience. My big issue with the Fitbit is that the battery seems to die roughly every three months. Fortunately, Fitbit has been good about replacing it for free every time.

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Re: Unfit Fitbits

10/26/2016 9:44 AM

Good for you, glad your feeling better. Good health never can be underestimated for quality of life.

Your experience also reinforced my post.

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Re: Unfit Fitbits

10/26/2016 1:05 PM

Maybe buying one of these makes folks feel good enough about themselves, having taken the first step, that they don't feel the need to follow through and do the hard part, exercise.

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#9
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Re: Unfit Fitbits

10/26/2016 1:11 PM

again, a tool is only as good as the person who knows how to use it. Its finding the right tool that the person knows how to use it, is the key.

And the television channel changer is not a tool.

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