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Fitness trackers' calorie measurements are prone to error

NEW RESEARCH: Fitness trackers

"FITNESS TRACKERS out of step when measuring calories, research shows," The Guardian reports. An independent analysis of a number of leading brands found they were all prone to inaccurate recording of energy expenditure.

Researchers recruited 60 participants to take part in a range of exercises while having their heart rate and number of calories burned measured by fitness trackers, as well as by clinically-approved medical devices used in a clinical setting. Seven fitness trackers were tested, including the Apple Watch, Fitbit Surge and the Samsung Gear S2.

The data from the fitness trackers was compared against the data obtained by the clinically-approved devices to calculate any errors in the measurements.

The researchers found that although fitness trackers are generally reliable in their ability to measure heart rate, they perform poorly when measuring the number of calories burned.

The results showed that, out of all seven devices, the Apple Watch had the lowest error in measurements whereas the Samsung Gear S2 had the highest level of error in terms of heart rate measurement and the PulseOn in terms of calorie burning measurement.

For now, fitness trackers remain useful for individuals to have an idea of how many calories they may have burned over a day but it should be kept in mind that these devices are not always 100% accurate, as shown by this study.

The study was carried out by researchers from Stanford University in the US and the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences in Stockholm.

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