Don't bin you Fitbits just yet, but a leading computer scientist has suggested that step counting apps could be "more harmful than good", and that few are actually based on scientific evidence.
There are an estimated 165,000 healthcare apps available, but according to Dr Greg Hager, from Johns Hopkins University in America, "very few" have any scientific value. He also claimed that the apps could be responsible for causing people to strive for unobtainable goals, and was particularly critical of devices that set targets of 10,000 steps.
Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Boston, Dr Hager said (via Sky News ): "Some of you might wear Fitbits or something equivalent, and I bet every now and then it gives you that cool little message 'You did 10,000 steps today'.
"But why is 10,000 steps important? What's big about 10,000?
"Turns out in 1960 in Japan they figured out that the average Japanese man, when he walked 10,000 steps a day, burned something like 3,000 calories and that is what they thought the average person should consume. So they picked 10,000 steps as a number.
"But is that the right number for any of you in this room? Who knows?"
Following a survey of several hundred mental health apps for diagnosis and instructing, Hager added that he found only five that could be linked to any scientific evidence base - but they were all research tools and not available to the public.
"I think apps could definitely be doing more harm than good," he continued. "I am sure that these apps are causing problems. Without any scientific evidence base, how do you know that any of these apps are good for you? They may even be harmful."
Well, anything that encourages us to get out and move our butt off the sofa more than we currently do (which is zero), can't be that bad if you ask us.
Via: Cosmopolitan UK