No Joy With Fitness Trackers

iStock_70133551_MEDIUMIf you're trying to lose weight, one great hope for assistance in that endeavor has been use of a fitness tracker. Such devices have been hypothesized to bring awareness to how much one is exercising or not, and to allow that data to be tracked over time and hopefully integrated with a comprehensive approach to weight loss.  So it is with chagrin that on PodMed this week, Rick and I discuss results of a JAMA study showing that fitness trackers not only didn't help people lose weight, the group using them did worse with regard to weight loss than the group who didn't use one! Yikes. What happened?

A total of 471 overweight and obese people 18 to 35 years of age were recruited to this long term study. A low calorie diet, increased physical activity, and group counseling sessions were all employed initially, with telephone counseling sessions, text messages and access to a website with study materials added at the six month interval.  At the six month point half the participants were supplied with a fitness tracker and web interface, while the standard intervention group utilized a website for self-monitoring.

The study continued for two years, with about three-quarters of participants completing the study.  Those who used the fitness tracker lost about 3.5 kg ( 7.7 pounds)  compared to the standard group, who lost 5.9 kg ( 13 pounds) on average.  Hmmmm.  Rick speculates that the robust support received by the standard intervention group has something to do with this outcome, but I'm really at a loss to explain it. Thoughts welcome.

Other topics this week include introduction of potentially allergenic foods into an infant's diet, also in JAMA, a look at beta blockers after heart attack in the BMJ, and in the Journal of Clinical Oncology an analysis of prostate cancer risk following vasectomy.  Until next week, y'all live well.

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Steve September 25, 2016 at 8:47 am

Could you please post the titles of the articles in the description each week?


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