Your Fitness Tracker May Be Accurately Tracking Steps, But Miscounting Calories

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The group’s findings come at a particularly inopportune time for Fitbit, as the business is facing a class-action lawsuit alleging its product presently, its heart rate technology specifically, is faulty and inaccurate. ” says Alex Montoye, a co-author of the scholarly research and an assistant professor of clinical exercise physiology at Ball State University or college.

His skepticism influenced him to judge how these new consumer-based activity trackers stacked up to his team’s medical equipment. For the report, his team had 30 healthy adults, of varying ages and fitness levels, perform 10 different activities of differing difficulty for a short timeframe. They supervised the participants’ progress with a portable metabolic analyzer (to obtain a true, breath-by-breath analysis) and four different activity devices: two wrist-worn trackers (Fitbit Flex and Jawbone UP24) and two hip-worn trackers (Fitbit Zip and Fitbit One).

FitBit and Jawbone were chosen because in 2013, when the combined group was in the planning stage of the study, the ongoing companies “occupied about 85 percent of the wearable technology market,” Montoye explains. The differences in calories recorded by the wearable systems vs. ‘s equipment was considerable. Based on the report, the calories burned while walking were overestimated by three from the four monitors by 26 to 61 percent. Cycling was the most severe activity recorded; all the screens significantly underestimated the true variety of calories burned by 37 to 59 percent.

“In these activity displays, the primary technology in them is an accelerometer, which tracks changes in motion,” Montoya says. Montoye pressured that the difference could be partly because of the limited timeframe recorded for each activity, as topics were only supervised for five to 10 minutes. He also talked about how the location of the fitness tracker (hip vs.

The most accurate quotes of calories burned were during sedentary activities, such as typing on some type of computer, watching TV or writing. ” Montoya says. “I expected, you understand, if the wrists are moving, at least for the wrist displays, that the devices would have picked up steps. Fitbit released the next declaration addressing the report.

“Fitbit trackers are made to provide meaningful data to your users to help them reach their health and fitness goals, and are not designed to be medical or medical devices,” they had written within the email to The Washington Post. “Our daily trackers, such as the Fitbit Flex tested in this scholarly research, do congrats calculating calorie burn for step-based activities.