Not fit one bit
Views 29 | Time to read: 4 minutes | Uploaded: 2 - 28 - 2017 | By: Vanessa Acain
The use of technology, in its truest form, is intended to make life easier. Be that as it may, as technology has advanced, the human mind has seemed to abate. What we once had control of, we are now controlled by. Endangering social interaction, perception of the world, and ability to execute simple tasks independently, technology has heeded the development of healthy, independent functioning individuals.
In this day and age, because technology is used to execute the simplest of tasks, we as a society have become more sedentary. In the last couple of years however, health has become somewhat of a trend. From kale to Lululemon attire, Fitbits have become the “fashionable, contemporary” means an individual can analyze how fit he or she is. In his book “A Fine Line” author and industrial designer Harmut Esslinger delves into how products such as Fitbits are defined either as a cultural phenomenon or commodity.
Esslinger argues that products are either trends created by the culture which fulfill a “unique space in the average consumer’s life” or commodities that are “ imitative and offer value at a competing price point.” The question is: Where do Fitbits fit in?
The fact of the matter is: wearable fitness devices are not legitimately helpful in the process of becoming fitter. Of the multiple fitness devices, Fitbit has grasped seventy percent of the market for consumer fitness trackers. In fact, the Fitbit is projected to increase its sales by 45 million in 2017, making a remarkable IPO.
Although more economically successful than other brands, Fitbit is no different than other wearable fitness devices in that the device does not perceive how the human body is actually functioning; tracking the number of steps taken by an individual throughout the day promotes the well-being of an individual but steps alone are not a great indicator of health. Researchers conclude that fitness trackers “lack any insight into people’s individual physiology.”
In a meta-analysis, researchers found difficulty proving sedentary individuals are more likely to gain weight than active individuals.
According to physician and researcher Aaron E. Carroll’s recent article in the New York Times Upshot section, the consequences of focusing merely on physical activity and no other factors that contribute to health are disadvantageous. A 2012 systematic review of studies supported his claim, concluding that individuals needed to stop emphasizing so heavily on exercise alone and focus on diet simultaneously. As most individuals consume more calories than burned during exercise, stressing the importance of the amount of caloric intake is equally as essential as the amount of physical activity executed by an individual.
Although tracking the number of steps was originally intended to encourage more exercise, the Fitbit has actually caused some individuals to remain if not become even more sedentary.
One user of the Fitbit stated, “I liked seeing the numbers rise and could pull off little things to make that happen. It hasn’t gotten me to start taking long walks, or go to the gym, or any of that stuff....” The IDEA trial at the University of Pittsburgh designed a study which analyzed the correlation between wearable technology and weight loss. At the end of the two year study, researchers found that those without access to the wearable technology lost almost double the weight than those who did. In the IDEA trial, those who used the technology were no more physically active nor fit than those who did not.
This is not to say that physical activity plays no role in health. It is definitely possible that the devices help make physical activity part of an individual’s regular routine and benefit that individual. But Fitbit substantiates the shaking reality that humans will willingly spend a considerable amount of money on technology which executes the simplest of tasks individuals can do independently.