Fitness trackers and weight loss — a good combo | Health

Actor Jon Hamm, President Barack Obama and Google CEO Sundar Pichai have all been spotted wearing fitness trackers and smartwatches — the latest tools designed to count your steps, heart rate, calories burned, even monitor your sleep quality and provide long-term biomonitoring. They can cost from $13 to more than $400 — or you can download a free pedometer to your smartphone.

Studies show they do promote adherence to exercise goals and help boost weight loss efforts. So which type is your best choice?

A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that for overweight/obese folks who have weight-related health conditions, all the wearable fitness trackers and step counters they tested promote weight loss. However, simple step- and calorie-counters are associated with the most weight loss and the greatest reduction in body mass index. And in the study when a step counter was combined with dietary changes or coaching, folks’ BMI went down by 3.4 (say, from 28, which is overweight, to 24.6, in the normal range).

The benefit comes from easy goal-setting (10,000 steps a day), clear readouts and straightforward notifications about when it’s time to move, when goals are met and how many calories have been expended.

Other helpful boosts to your weight-loss plan include these top five tips from the Cleveland Clinic:

• Don’t skip breakfast and get at least 10 grams of protein.

• Eat small meals or consider intermittent fasting.

• Exercise moderately and make sure to add in resistance/strength training.

• Eat until you’re no longer hungry, not until you are full.

• Beware of emotional eating.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit

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