Skip to main content

'Unfitness Trackers' could help you fight the flab

There's a gap in the market for "unfitness trackers"

Diet and lifestyle researchers at Loughborough University have been analysing the fitness tracker market, and they've concluded that there aren't enough devices available for tracking "unfitness".

Scientists from the Leicester-Loughborough Diet, Lifestyle and Physical Activity Biomedical Research Unit reviewed 82 different technologies for measuring physical activity and sedentary behaviour in real-time.

Poor health

Sitting for long periods of time has been repeatedly linked to poor health. It gives you an increased risk of developing chronic diseases, including Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

But while wearable fitness trackers are great at measuring your movement, they're not so great at measuring when you're not moving. A whopping 73 of the devices in the study were capable of measuring physical activity, but only nine were suitable for monitoring sedentary time.


The team also showed that self-monitoring personal fitness has a much greater role to play in the world's health systems – by encouraging people to change their behaviour using real-time, personalised feedback.

Their paper, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, references an NHS report showing the need for people to take more of an active role in their personal healthcare - uploading data into their own online medical records.

"The wearable tech sector must now fill this identified gap in the market," said James Sanders, lead author of the paper, "so people can have a comfortable and easy-to-wear device that helps nudge them throughout the day to spend less time sitting."

  • Duncan Geere is TechRadar's science writer. Every day he finds the most interesting science news and explains why you should care. You can read more of his stories here, and you can find him on Twitter under the handle @duncangeere.