Just A ‘Fancy Bracelet’: New Study Shows That FitBit Doesn’t Actually Help People Lose Weight

People running a 5K marathon.
Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images for Rock'n'Roll Marathon

Strapping on a FitBit and tracking your steps may not actually be doing all that much to help you lose weight, a new study found.

As the Daily Mail reported, researchers at the University of Florida found that wearable fitness devices like FitBit and Apple Watch may help a person’s well-being, but does not lead to any meaningful drop in cholesterol or blood pressure, and only one of six studies analyzed showed any weight loss at all.

The report from the Daily Mail noted that these studies find “little evidence that your wearable is much more than a fancy bracelet.” The findings were a surprise even to researchers, who thought they would find that the motivation to get moving and get more exercise would have shown some kind of weight loss.

‘The weight loss findings are pretty surprising,” lead author Ara Jo, a clinical assistant professor in the department of health services research, management and policy at the University of Florida, told Today. “I thought that wearable devices would definitely help to lose weight, at some point, because they make people move, but apparently not.”

Dr. Jo added that the wearable fitness tracking devices can help people stay away from a sedentary lifestyle that creates its own health risks, but does not motivate them to be active enough to actually lose weight.

As The Inquisitr had previously reported, there has already been some doubt cast on the popular fitness tracking goal of getting 10,000 steps every day. New research showed that people do not need to reach the 10,00- step threshold in order to see an improvement in overall health — and, in fact, need less than half of that amount.

As Health 24 reported, the Harvard Medical School study looked at the daily exercise levels of women with an average age of 72. The research showed that women who walked 4,400 steps a day had reduced their risk of premature death by 41 percent compared to a group who walked only about 2,700 steps each day.

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The widely reported study brought new attention to the goals that come with FitBit, Apple Watch, and other wearable fitness trackers. The Harvard study concluded that people should try to take small steps toward improving their overall health, as even a small increase in activity can bring some very important health improvements. Other studies have shown that simply getting out and walking can make people healthier and happier in their daily lives.