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EXPERT COMMENT | Is there still a place for fitness wearable tech?

Senior Lecturer in the Measurement of Physical Activity Dr Dale Esliger provides an insight into the future of wearable technology in fitness after a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows a simple diet and exercise plan is more effective weight loss strategy.

Dr Dale Esliger 
Senior Lecturer in the Measurement of Physical Activity
National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine East Midlands

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"The finding that's catching the media by storm is the fact that the control group lost more weight than the treatment group that had advanced access to the wearable technology.

"The surprise, if you want to say that, from the media side is how could a technology designed to monitor our physical activity and our fitness not be potent in terms of helping these people reach their goals?

"The future of wearable tech, at least in our eyes, is when we start to combine the sensors we've had for the last 15 or 20 years.

"Taking the sensors that measure our physical movement using physics, acceleration and number of steps counted and adding the idea of the physiological consequence of that behaviour.

"So instead of just looking down at your wrist and seeing you've got 10,000 steps today, what if you looked down at your wrist and you saw that it lowered your blood pressure or blood sugar by a certain amount?

"That would be motivational for you to want to keep doing that behaviour over and over in a operant conditioning sort of way.

"The opposite side of that, on days where you're particularly inactive with low amounts of steps and high amounts of sitting behaviour, what is the consequence of your acute health?"

Which wearable tech to buy?

"We say that the best one to buy is the one that you'll use. It's like a diet - not every diet works for every person but every diet works for at least some people.

"The wearable tech is no different so not every piece of wearable tech will work for every person but there are segments of the population where they will be motivational and help that person make the healthier choice more often."

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 16/132

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