Ask the doctor: Are activity trackers worthwhile for weight loss?

Ask the doctor

Image: yacobchuk/iStock

Published: November, 2016

Q. I read about a study showing that activity trackers don't help people lose weight. I have been wearing a tracker for three months. I've gone from 3,000 steps a day to almost 7,000, but I've lost only 2 pounds. Should I try something else?

A. In that study, from the University of Pittsburgh, two similar groups of young adults (predominantly women) received weight-loss counseling, were asked to follow a weight-loss diet, and were instructed to get 100 to 300 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a week for two years. Although both groups lost weight, the group wearing the trackers lost an average of 5 pounds, while the other group averaged an 8-pound loss.

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