Why Fitness Trackers Don’t Work . . . But Wear One Anyway


Yesterday, I referred you to an article that concluded that people bail out on fitness trackers because they do not provide “clinically relevant” information, i.e., information that the wearer can use to improve her health.

Today, I will send you to an article in WIRED, that concludes that the reason that fitness trackers don’t have a more loyal following is that they are not “addictive” enough. Sort of the same as, sort of different from, yesterday’s conclusion.

The absence of meaningful goals in using the trackers, for example, is a problem. Who says that 10,000 steps, the goal which many trackers have preset, is appropriate? And what do you get if you reach the goal? There is nothing here to make people spend more “time in app.”

Some fitness trackers have attempted to build in motivation by having leader board competitions. Another pass at gaming health care. BUT. Studies have demonstrated that such approaches, if they are effective at all, only have a positive impact at the top of the pack which is generally made up of people who are already motivated anyhow.

Bottom Line. So, while yesterday’s article concluded that fitness trackers need to become “clinically relevant,” today’s article suggests that fitness trackers need to become more “sticky.” 

Maybe the right answer is “All of the above!!!”

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