Activity trackers fall short in weight-loss trial | Science News

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Activity trackers fall short in weight-loss trial

In surprising result, those who didn’t monitor steps lost more pounds

3:57pm, September 20, 2016
Jogger with fitness tracker

TECHNOLOGY FAIL  In a two-year trial, people who wore activity monitors lost less weight than people who didn't wear the devices. 

Carefully counting steps, stairs and sprints might backfire for some people. At the end of a two-year weight-loss trial, people who used activity monitors had lost less weight than people without the device. The results, described in the Sept. 20 JAMA, are the exact opposite of what researchers expected to find.

Going into the study, researchers thought that wearable technology would help people, particularly tech-savvy young adults, keep extra weight off. “It turns out that it actually worked against us,” says study coauthor John Jakicic, a weight-management researcher at the University of Pittsburgh.

Jakicic and colleagues followed 470 overweight or obese young adults, ages 18 to 35, over two years as they completed a weight-loss program that focused on healthful eating, exercise and support through meetings, phone calls and texts. During the first six months,

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