Is your fitness tracker on point?

Olivia Pratapas, Opinion Writer

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A majority of the people today want to diet and stay healthy, so why not make an app or watch
that lets you count your calories or keep track of your daily steps taken? People today are
obsessed with using their phones and other tech-savvy gadgets to help them but what if it was
lying to you and letting you congratulate yourself based on incorrect calculations?
Researchers from “Life Science” studied the accuracy of fitness trackers, and what they
discovered is surprising. Today, we think our electronics are smarter than ourselves or even
better than the “old-fashioned” way of doing things, but are they?
Researchers tested the Apple Watch, Basis Peak, Fitbit Surge, Microsoft Band, Mio Alpha 2,
PulseOn and Samsung Gear S2 first testing whether each device calculated the person’s heart
rate correctly.
The results came back positive with six of the seven devices only being 5 percent off. With the
fitness trackers and their accuracy, a lot of points are put into place. The devices have to take into
account the person’s age, gender, race and ethnicity of that individual as well as to how intense
the activity they are doing is, according to Donald Fluker with Kare 11.
The next major test they conducted (and the thing that most people want to know from their
trackers) is if the device was accurately counting how many calories they were burning.
According to the tests held, the results were considerably off, and they stated that the “most
accurate device was 30 percent off.” I don’t know about you, but when I got my Fitbit for

Christmas, I wanted it to be able to count how many steps I had taken in that day and how many
calories I had burned. Now my trust has disintegrated.
Since the fitness trackers aren’t as accurate as we think, can we even rely on an app as an
alternative? Out of all the dieting apps in the Apple app store, one popped out to me,
“MyFitnessPal.” Just from looking at it, I felt I could trust it more. With 65 million users
utilizing it, the app counts your calorie intake and tells you how many you have burned and how
much exercise you are getting. If you’re looking for something to count how many calories or
steps you’ve taken around West and don’t want to pay $50-100 dollars on a watch, this is
something to take into consideration. Just think about it: walking from the 1000 building to the
700 is a hike, and with this app you can see that you are burning calories even though you aren’t
doing an intensive workout.
Researchers reached out to a couple of users to participate in a study and found that with the
app, the best results came from the people that stuck with their goal and didn’t stop using the app
after a couple of days or even a week. Many appreciated the fact that the app was a reliable tool
for them to see how many calories were being ingested and they realized that they needed to
change their diet. For phone addicts that have to have everything done on their phone, this is a
plus.
With personally owning a tracker, it doesn’t bother me if its step calculations I’ve taken in that
day are off by a little. As long as I’m staying active and eating healthy, that’s all that matters. If
you own a Fitbit, the best feeling is walking somewhere and getting the vibration on your wrist
letting you know that you have reached 10,000 steps. You feel proud of yourself and what you
have done, even if it’s a little celebration.

For people looking to cut calories, I would suggest going with the free app. You’re getting
correct information given to you as well as many other perks, all for free. If you’re one of those
people that do not trust the apps or gadgets, don’t fret. With local weight loss groups and
guidance counselors/therapists being available anywhere, you can get the support you might
want as well as the results.