Why fitness apps that instruct you to walk 10,000 steps a day could be causing more harm than good


Fitness bands that track the number of steps you walk may be causing more harm than good, a leading computer scientist alerted yesterday. The activity tracking apps advise that people should take 10,000 steps a day.

But due to lack of scientific research these claims don’t have ‘concrete evidence base’ and could be harmful, a leading scientist warned yesterday.

Dr. Greg Hager, Professor of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins, told the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting that trying to walk 10,000 steps for elderly individuals may be harmful. About one-third of all fitness tracker bands are manufactured by Fitbit.

The UK National Obesity Forum claim that a person who walks between 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day is considered as ‘moderately active’. Previously experts have advised that 10,000 steps might be too easy for short people and harder for people with long legs.

As per NHS reports, the average Briton walks between 3,000 and 4,000 steps per day which are very less than the Fitbit target.

Dr. John Jakicic of the University of Pittsburgh, whose team last year noticed that fitness trackers could prevent people losing weight, said: ‘The aim should be based on the scientific proof.

From there the devices and apps should be used for monitoring of health-related goals and to help in behavior change. So, we need to be cautious before depending completely on these devices.’

Steve Flatt, director of Psychological Therapies Unit in London said: ‘Presently, I would say that all apps are at the equivalent stage of the 1860’s wild west everyone watches a gravy train and do not hesitate to jump on board even if there is little of no evidence of utility, on the fact that there is a huge amount of money to be made.’