ASU professor discusses the merits of fitness trackers
Glenn Gaesser, ASU's associate director of the School of Nutrition & Health Promotion, was quoted in a recent article in the New York Times about the accuracy of accelerometers. These devices – often worn on the hip, leg or wrist – track and measure a person's movement and energy expenditure.
Gaesser confirmed the devices can offer readings on more strenuous bodily movements, like jogging, fairly accurately. But it significantly underestimated subtler activities, like sweeping or bicycle pedaling, which involve no arm movement.
Researchers say accelerometers are improving. For now, even though the device’s measurements are likely to be imperfect, Gaesser says it does not mean you should stash yours in a drawer. “They may not be accurate” for counting calories, he says, “but for many people, they’re inspirational, and if using one gets someone to move more, then as far as I’m concerned, it’s serving a good purpose.”