Popular fitness trackers are unreliable when it comes to calories counting, but it is good at monitoring heart rate, a team of researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine reports.
Millions of people wear some wristband activity tracker to monitor their exercise and health, But is the data are accurate?
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The Stanford team say that if the device measures heart rate, it’s probably doing a good job. But when it measures calories expenditure, it’s probably off by a significant amount.
Difficult to know home device accuracy
It’s hard to know how accurate information coming from a home device is, or the process that the manufacturers used in testing the devices.
“For a lay user, in a non-medical setting, we want to keep that error under 10 percent,” Shcherbina said.Heart-rate data reliable
The take-home message, Ashley said, is that a user can pretty much rely on a fitness tracker’s heart rate measurements. But basing the number of doughnuts you eat on how many calories your device says you burned is a bad idea, he said.
The researchers could not be sure why energy expenditure measures were so far off.