Tech Crunch has a great title in a post today:
Your Fitness App Is Making You Fat
Catchy isn’t it? The article goes on to explain the reasoning, drawing on the pseudo-science of journalist Gary Taubes, who has spent more than a decade slamming the research community. Here’s the thing, there is great research on what is missing from apps and wearables. The consistent conclusion, is that apps and wearables are self-monitoring tools. Self-monitoring is a cornerstone of successful behavior change – be it to increase activity (for its myriad health benefits beyond weight loss) or to lose weight. But self-monitoring is not sufficient. Apps and wearables don’t work because they don’t provide feedback. Feedback is what drives engagement and engagement drives long term success. None of that is new. Behavioral science has known it for sometime. It is just new to apps and wearables.
I’m glad to see the tech community paying attention to the outcomes from apps and wearables, but it would be great if it also paid attention to the science – the kind that comes from scientists.