HealthDay News — Wearable activity trackers seem to be effective for increasing physical activity among individuals of varying age and among clinical and nonclinical populations, according to a review published in the August issue of The Lancet Digital Health.

Ty Ferguson, from the University of South Australia in Adelaide, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses to examine the effectiveness of activity trackers for improving physical activity and related physiological and psychosocial outcomes in clinical and nonclinical populations. A total of 39 systemic reviews and meta-analyses were identified, which included results from 163,992 participants across all age groups from healthy and clinical populations.

The researchers found that the meta-analyses suggested that activity trackers improved physical activity, body composition, and fitness (standardized mean difference, 0.3 to 0.6, 0.7 to 2.0, and 0.3, respectively), equivalent to ~1,800 extra steps per day, 40 minutes more walking per day, and ~1 kg reduction in body weight. The effects for other physiological and psychosocial outcomes were generally small and not significant.


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“The overall results from the studies we reviewed [show] that wearable activity trackers are effective across all age groups and for long periods of time,” Ferguson said in a statement. “They encourage people to exercise on a regular basis, to make it part of their routine and to set goals to lose weight.”

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