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Fitness-tracking device study investigates effectiveness


A recent tracking device study conducted by Club One, Inc. has found that users who tracked personal wellness data self-reported no statistically significant change in health or energy level when their results were look at in an aggregate.

The study provided a pool of users one of three different biometric or fitness –tracking devices (an accelerometer, a scale, or blood pressure cuff), and lasted for six weeks. The intent of the study, run by Club One’s director of digital products, Michael Rucker, and Club One’s manager of market research and consumer insights, Ryan McFadden, was to glean field insights into the way health club members perceive these tracking devices.

“Many industry analysts like to point to the proliferation of fitness and wellness mobile apps as market growth, but in my opinion, that’s simply not true,” Rucker said. “If you extrapolate the number of Americans interested in tracking their wellness from the latest Pew Tracking for Health report, the U.S. market reach for these type of products is approximately 45 million Americans. But divide that by the 17,000 purported mobile tracking applications available and the market share for each is relatively small. To succeed in mHealth and cultivate users companies will need to focus on utility and usability. Our study supports the notion that success comes from pairing the right technology with the needs of the individual.”

According to Club One, at the study’s onset, no participants reported believing they would have a negative experience with their tracking device, nor did any participant disbelieve that a tracking device would aid them in achieving a health goal. Despite this, 13.9% of the study’s participants indicated they had not had a positive experience with the device by the end of the study and 36.1% indicated that the devices had not helped them achieve their goals.

An overview of this study is available at the Club One, Inc website and the study’s authors will be presenting the findings of this study at the 2013 International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association Convention in Last Vegas, March 22 at the Mandalay Bay.

In a recent  Biometric Research Note, the Biometrics Research Group, Inc. estimates that wearable health and fitness sensors will exceed 40 million shipments by 2015, predicting that sportswear firms will drive early adoption.

As reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, a wide range of other biometric fitness and healthcare applications have entered the market, including wireless and wearable activity and sleep trackers and even smartphone-enabled cardiograms.

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