F itbit exercise trackers could be having an adverse effect on teenagers, preventing them from exercising rather than encouraging it, research has found. Researchers at Brunel University London found wearing a Fitbit for two months left teenagers feeling demotivated about physical activity rather than encouraging them to do more. The study tracked 84 students aged 13 to 14 who wore a Fitbit tracker for eight weeks. It found the initial novelty of the device, which encouraged more activity in the first few weeks, wore off and pupils’ movement levels declined. Part of the problem is that Fitbit’s targets are unrealistic and not tailored to individuals, the researchers said. The 10,000 steps-a-day goal, for example, was described by participants as “unfair”. “They strived to achieve it but would often fall short,” said Dr Charlotte Kerner, one of the lead researchers. “That made them feel really bad about themselves and put them off exercise.”
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