We have all been in a group where someone pipes up and announces how many steps that have walked today.

The activity trackers, like Fitbit and Apple Watch, are used as it is believed that they must be useful in losing weight.

A large and well designed study has been conducted to work out the contribution of activity tracker to weight loss programs.

The IDEA trial involved more than 470 adults between the ages of 18 to 35.

All the trial participants were put on a low-calorie diet, had group counselling sessions and advised to increase their physical activity.

After six months, each participant were given phone counselling sessions, text message prompts and study materials.

However, half of the trial participants were given wearable activity trackers and connected to a website to monitor diet and physical activity to help provide feedback.

The trial continued for a further 18 months.

So after 2 years those who did NOT have a fitness tracker lost on average 5.9 kg while those that were on the enhanced intervention with a fitness tracker lost on average 2.4kg.

Both groups had significant improvements in body composition, fitness, physical activity and diet.

But the key point of the study was that the addition of a fitness tracker resulted in LESS weight loss.

As the authors state,

Devices that monitor and provide feedback on physical activity may not offer an advantage over standard behavioral(sic) weight loss approaches.

Exercise is of value for its own sake.

The point of the activity trackers is to encourage additional movement.

But there is now evidence that those who use activity trackers were no more physically active than those who didn’t.

To learn more about fitness devices and activity: