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Fitness Tracker Features for Weight Loss

These Fitness Tracker Features Get You the Most Weight Loss

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These days, the list of fitness tracker features you can get is long.  Very long.  Whether you’re wearing a Fitbit, Garmin, Apple, Amazon or other device strapped to your wrist, your waistband or somewhere else on your body, you’re definitely not working exclusively with a pedometer.  That said, each feature comes with its own accuracy level and benefits.  Not all of them are useful to everyone.  Much of the way these devices will help you has to do with your goal. 

What Does Research Show About Fitness Tracker Features and Weight?

Research from the University of Minnesota has shown that the right fitness tracker features can be very helpful in supporting our efforts to drop some unwanted pounds. That said, they don’t all work the same way, and they’re only beneficial if they’re used.  There’s not a lot of support coming from a fitness tracker with a run-down battery, jammed into a drawer.

However, among people looking for additional information and motivation, fitness tracker features can go a long way to drive us in a better direction.  After all, they encourage us to self-monitor, to be accountable for our actions and, therefore, to self-regulate.

The research involved an analysis of 2,268 people.  It also examined data from 31 previous clinical trials.  The purpose was to examine the impact of fitness trackers on wearers who are obese and overweight and who suffer from related health conditions such as coronary artery disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, various kinds of cancer, and sleep apnea.

What Did the Researchers Find?

All the various types of devices were found to be helpful to reducing overall BMI.  The participants who kept up their efforts for at least 12 weeks saw the most favorable results. 

When it came to the best fitness tracker features for supporting weight loss, it was – believe it or not – the step counters and accelerometers that brought about the best results.  The average 12-week weight loss resulting from those tools was 9 pounds 11 ounces.  That’s it. The most basic feature.

This showed that you don’t need to shell out a ton of money for the most expensive device to get the most effective feature.  As long as it has an accurate step counter and accelerometer, you’re already on the right track.  Across all the devices, an average of 6 pounds was lost in 12 weeks. Across everyone participating and using a device, there was an average BMI reduction of 2, with step counters and accelerometers achieving the largest reduction at 3.4.

These results were from efforts that also included dietary changes or counseling. It’s important to note that regardless of the fitness tracker features, effective weight loss involves consistently maintained changes to diet, exercise and other lifestyle habits, not just the number of steps taken in a day.  These findings were published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.