Fitness trackers cannot measure the amount of calories burnt accurately
(Mirror Daily, United States) – A new research performed by scientists from Stanford University found another fault of fitness trackers. They might be accurate in measuring heart rate during exercise, but they cannot tell how many calories you have burnt. Seven of the most popular trackers were analyzed and compared with the results from medical tests.
Fitness trackers are good for measuring heart rate, but not burnt calories
Researchers selected 60 participants, 31 women and 29 men, and offered them seven fitness trackers to test. These included Fitbit Surge, Apple Watch, Basis Peak, Samsung Gear S2, Microsoft Band, and PulseOn. Then, they had to engage in different types of exercise, such as running or walking.
While they were performing the exercises, researchers measured their heart rate with an electrocardiograph. Afterwards, they measured how much CO2 and oxygen was in their breath, which helped them establish how many calories they burnt. In the end, they compared this data with the fitness tracker measurements.
Six of the seven trackers were accurate with the heart rate, although some were more accurate than others. However, certain factors contributed to an altering of the results, such as body mass index or skin color. When it came to calorie measurement, the results were much different.
The trackers were not clinically tested
None of the seven trackers could measure the burnt calorie rate accurately. The most accurate of them had a 27 percent fault rate, while the least accurate reached 93 percent. Usually, fitness trackers should keep an error rate of maximum 10 percent.
This happens since trackers do not receive testing in a clinical environment. Unfortunately, users are not aware of it, and base most of their decisions regarding their lifestyle and diets on the results these trackers show them. They usually take the data from fitness trackers and use it to lose weight, but studies show people are more likely to become fit if they do not know how many calorie they burn during exercise.
Creating an algorithm which calculates how many calories are burnt is complex, especially since this differs from person to person. Therefore, it is not surprising that they brought such fault rates.
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