Two months ago, my birthday present from my family was an iWatch which its biggest component is a fitness tracker. So when I stumbled upon the article “Fitness Trackers Might Help Us Live Longer (if Only We Used Them)” I was interested to see what they said as I recently caught the wave of using a fitness tracker. This article uses two different pieces of research, one by the American Journal of Epidemiology and the other published by The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, to investigate the impacts of fitness trackers and the motivations to use it. The first journal focuses on the question of if the data from fitness trackers actually correlates with your health. It uses 4000 people and conducts a quantitative study over a long period of time in order to compare who lived longer; those who used fitness trackers or those who didn’t. The next journal focuses on the question of motivation to use fitness trackers and was more of a qualitative. They used three groups, one that was payed, one that was given a donation to their favorite charity, and one that was given nothing. So two experimental and one control group in which they changed variables in the first two. These groups were compared to see which group would exercise more. They then took away those benefits and compared the first set of results to the second to see if there was a difference.
First research that the article talks about is a stratified random sample of 4000 middle aged men and women. Nothing else is known about how they are selected but the data collected from them were on a nominal level with item to total reliability. The article aimed for prediction validity by attempting to show that those who wore fitness trackers lived longer than those who didn’t. On the other hand, the second journal was discussed more specifically in the news article. Using non-probability sampling, it was on a partially volunteer basis of 800 office workers from Singapore. Regardless of the different methods, I don’t believe that either are very representative samples as one was of only middle aged men and women rather than all ages and the others were office workers in a different country who weren’t regularly active in their day to day lives.
The research itself was done using experimental research as the experimenters manipulated certain variables to see if there was a cause-effect relationship. This made it easy to see the impact of the research done and provided clear results. The first journal had a very simple experimental research, it tracked middle aged men and women for ten years and checked to see who had died in those ten years. It showed that those who wore a fitness tracker were more likely to be alive than those who hadn’t. The next journal’s research was a little more complex. It took 800 office workers and had three groups, a control, and two variable manipulations. Then they got rid of the variable manipulation to see if the manipulation had an impact on the results. Ultimately, the way the research was conducted was pretty straight forward and was simple to understand logically as the reader.
But I always come back to the question of, would a rational person invest in a fitness tracker? It wouldn’t hurt. I wouldn’t run to the store immediately to grab one as it probably won’t make you more fit. But if you are looking for a way to track your progress this is probably one of the best ways to do it.
Reynolds, Gretchen. “Fitness Trackers Might Help Us Live Longer (if Only We Used Them).” The New York Times. The New York Times, 02 Nov. 2016. Web. 27 Nov. 2016.