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Activity trackers, even with cash incentives, do not improve health

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: (Published 05 October 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i5392
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. London

Activity trackers, either alone or with cash incentives, do not seem to improve health outcomes at 12 months, a randomised trial published in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology has found.

Cash incentives did increase exercise levels at six months, but this was not sustained after incentives were stopped. Researchers also found no evidence that wearing an activity tracker promoted weight loss or improved blood pressure or cardiorespiratory fitness.1

Eric Finkelstein from Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, lead author of the study, said, “While there was some progress early on, once the incentives were stopped, volunteers did worse than if the incentives had never been offered, and most stopped wearing the trackers.”

The findings come after a similar study published in JAMA found that people who wore a fitness device lost less weight over …

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