What Fitness Tracks Get Right And What They Get Wrong

May 26, 2017

Dreamstime

Fitness trackers are widely popular in keeping track of your steps, your weight, your heart rate and how many calories you consume. But is the data these devices report accurate.  Yes and no says cardiologist and Professor Euan Ashley of Stanford University Medical Center.  At his practice, many patients were bringing in their fitness tracker data for review.  That led him and other colleagues to test the top seven-selling fitness trackers for accuracy on heart rate and calories consumed. What they found was all seven of the trackers tested, The Apple Watch, Basis Peak, Fitbit Surge, Microsoft Band, Mio Alpha, PulseOn and Samsung Gear S2, did fairly well in accurately measuring your hearty activity within 5% accuracy.  When it came to the calorie burn estimates, the fitness trackers were widely inaccurate, with a range of 20% of the reported data was wrong to 93% inaccurate data, with the Fitbit Surge performing the best and PulseOn the worst.  But it may be best to skip the calorie burning features altogether. A report last year found that people attempting to lose weight while wearing a fitness tracker actually loss less weight that those who didn't wear trackers.

SOURCE: NPR & Journal of Personalized Medicine

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