Fitbits are a popular wearable health technology.
They promise to give you real time data to keep you motivated to improve your health.
You can keep track of your activity, exercise, food, weight and sleep.
But how accurate are they and should you get one?
A recent review including 67 studies reported mixed results.
Trying to reach your 10,000 steps a day goal? For step count they had a tendency to underestimate steps in controlled settings and overestimate steps in the real world. They were only accurate about half the time.
Trying to estimate your energy expenditure? You are unlikely to get accurate results.
You’re more likely to get accurate results for moving in slow motion – like during sleep – compared to speed walking or running.
What does this all mean?
The Fitbit may be more of a fashion accessory or placebo than a valid tool for data collection.
Make sure you’re using other measures to track your progress.
Your energy levels, waist and hip circumference, and blood pressure are among some valid measures for your health and wellness.
Want to learn more about your health?
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Freehan, LM et al. (2018). Accuracy of Fitbit Devices: Systematic Review and Narrative Syntheses of Quantitative Data. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 6(8):e10527. Doi: 10.2196/10527