Activity Trackers: A Critical Review

Jeon Lee, Joseph Finkelstein

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

14 Scopus citations


The wearable consumer health devices can be mainly divided into activity trackers, sleep trackers, and stress management devices. These devices are widely advertised to provide positive effects on the user's daily behaviours and overall heath. However, objective evidence supporting these claims appears to be missing. The goal of this study was to review available evidence pertaining to performance of activity trackers. A comprehensive review of available information has been conducted for seven representative devices and the validity of marketing claims was assessed. The device assessment was based on availability of verified output metrics, theoretical frameworks, systematic evaluation, and FDA clearance. The review identified critical absence of supporting evidence of advertised functions and benefits for the majority of the devices. Six out of seven devices did not provide any information on sensor accuracy and output validity at all. Possible underestimation or overestimation of specific health indicators reported to consumers was not clearly disclosed to the public. Furthermore, significant limitations of these devices which can be categorized into user restrictions, user responsibilities and company disclaimers could not be easily found or comprehended by unsophisticated users and may represent a serious health hazard.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicatione-Health - For Continuity of Care - Proceedings of MIE 2014
EditorsLouise Pape-Haugaard, Brigitte Seroussi Brigitte, Osman Saka, Christian Lovis, Arie Hasman, Stig Kjaer Andersen
PublisherIOS Press
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781614994312
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Event25th European Medical Informatics Conference, MIE 2014 - Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: Aug 31 2014Sep 3 2014

Publication series

NameStudies in Health Technology and Informatics
ISSN (Print)0926-9630
ISSN (Electronic)1879-8365


Other25th European Medical Informatics Conference, MIE 2014


  • Consumer health informatics
  • activity tracker
  • review
  • validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


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