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Step-counting apps could be harming people

21st Feb 17 2:08 pm

Do you own fitness tech?

A leading computer scientist has claimed that step-counting apps which recommend 10,000 steps a day could be an over ambitious target.

Dr Greg Hager, from Johns Hopkins University in the US, spoke of how “very few” healthcare apps are actually based on scientific evidence.

Hager is very critical of the apps and devices which recommend 10,000 steps a day.

Hager spoke at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Boston, he said: “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?”

He said that a survey of several hundred mental health apps for coaching and diagnosis only found five that could be linked to an evidence base, none of these are available to the public as they are all research tools.

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