A UK nonprofit warns that fitness monitors could be harmful for people who have eating issues


According to Beat, fitness trackers and smartwatches could be harmful to people who have eating issues. It is motivating IT firms to disable push notifications by default.

The majority of us would benefit from exercising more and eating less, but one eating disorder charity in the UK warns that constant reminders to exercise, such as exercise reminders and calorie-burning objectives, may make these disorders worse. The group claims that people with eating disorders may utilize exercise as a means of calorie control in an inappropriate way.

According to Tom Quinn, Beat’s Director of External Affairs, “apps that drive you to go farther, that send you alerts that you haven’t done this number of steps or burned this amount of calories, would be incredibly harmful to those who have eating disorders.”

These things “at the absolute least shouldn’t be turned on automatically.”

Fitbit consumers post complaints on online forums regarding the Charge 3’s blank screen issue.

A major eating disorder expert from the NHS has supported the call. She sees patients addicted to objectives and reminders from wearables on a regular basis, according to The Telegraph.

When utilizing these gadgets, “it almost becomes an addictive and compulsive behavior,” said Danielle Glennon, clinical lead for eating disorders at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

When patients begin to walk 20,000 steps per day, that becomes the new normal. And when we encourage them to reduce that, just as we do with calories, they actually feel terrified and afraid.

In addition to asking wearable technology manufacturers to provide warnings when people are exercising too much, Beat is also pushing for automated push notification deactivation.

The popularity of fitness trackers and smartwatches has increased in recent years, and it is unlikely that this will change anytime soon. Device sales are expected to expand by double digits during the next several years, according to market research firms.

Many of these gadgets include cues to users, such as “You are moving less than usual today” or “You doubled your move goal yesterday,” to urge them to move more. Amazing. “Repeat it today,” “Overachiever! Your daily target has been exceeded by 5,000 steps.

When you open your account and pair your device, certain smartwatches and fitness trackers come pre-configured with such notifications enabled. Then, if desired, a user must explicitly turn them off in the settings.

An Apple representative claimed that rather than rewarding customers for reaching higher goals, its notifications were made to motivate users to obtain the appropriate amount of exercise each day. A Fitbit spokesman, who also makes popular wearables, said:

By giving people the information, resources, motivation, and direction they need to achieve their health and wellness objectives, Fitbit’s aim is to enable them to live healthier, more active lives.

Through tools like our social feed and groups, we offer assistance and encourage interaction for our members. Everyone’s definition of health is unique, so we advise people to go to their doctor if they have any concerns about their behavior.


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