There’s little evidence that wearable fitness tracking device technology alone can change behavior and improve health for those that need it most, according to a new online-first viewpoint piece by University of Pennsylvania researchers in JAMA.

“The notion is that by recording and reporting information about behaviors such as physical activity or sleep patterns, these devices can educate and motivate individuals toward better habits and better health,” write authors Mitesh S. Patel, M.D., David A. Asch, M.D., and Kevin G. Volpp, M.D., all of whom are faculty at Penn and attending physicians at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center. “The gap between recording information and changing behavior is substantial, however, and while these devices are increasing in popularity, little evidence suggests that they are bridging the gap.”

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