Next the headline “Fitness Trackers Don't Help You Lose Weight, After All” (in Cosmo, no less).
Now The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology has published a study that found individuals who got cash or charity donation incentives to wear a Fitbit Zip activity tracker showed, after one year, no improvement in weight, blood pressure and other fitness measures.
The study recruited 800 employees, aged 21-65, from 13 different companies in Singapore. It was designed to measure the Fitbits' impacts on health outcomes and how financial incentives affected peoples' use of the device.
Participants were randomly placed in four different groups, two of which were given the Fitbits plus weekly financial incentives, with a high of $30 awarded for logging 70,000 or more steps. Participants in one of the cash-incentive groups could keep the money; people in the other had to donate it to a charity of their choice. A third group got the Fitbit Zip and access to Fitbit's website but no incentives; and the fourth, a control group, was given no trackers, just some information about exercise.
The people who got to pocket the cash or donate it to charity logged more daily steps each week than the people in the non-incentivized groups. The cash group also saw a significantly smaller attrition rate — after six months, just 12 percent of that group had stopped wearing the devices.
No Cash, No Fitbit