Archive for the tag - wearable devices

Are Fitness Bands Accurate?

1600x900q80Wearable fitness devices are all the rage. By attaching the device to your body, key performance measures are monitored. A number of such products are flooding the market – but do the fitness bands measure up and are they accurate?

According to researchers from Iowa State University, not all fitness bands are created equal.

For their study, researchers recruited 30 men and 30 women and had them wear eight popular devices through 13 difference activities including computer work, Wii tennis, basketball and running. By wearing the devices through these various activities, the researchers aimed to simulate real world conditions.

The data from each device was then compared to the data from a portable metabolic analyzer to gauge accuracy. Most of the devices were reasonably accurate and had a margin of error less than 15%. Here’s what they found:

  • The BodyMedia FIT (most accurate): 9.3% error rating
  • The Fitbit Zip: 10.1% error rating
  • Fitbit One: 10.4% error rating
  • Jawbone Up: 12.2% error rating
  • Actigraph: 12.6% error rating
  • Directlife: 12.8% error rating
  • Nike Fuel Band: 13.0% error rating
  • Basis Band: 23.5% error rating

The researchers noted that wearable fitness devices aren’t some magic solution. In and of themselves, they don’t help people achieve fitness goals. To achieve fitness goals, changes in behavior are required – and wearable devices are merely a tool in helping to measure those changes.

In other words, measuring how many steps you took isn’t the same thing as taking more steps.