When the Fitbit Isn’t a Fit

Since the first Fitbit model was introduced in 2009, it has been sold to millions of people worldwide. Fitbit claims that the PurePulse technology used in trackers accurately measures heart rate while idle or during different levels of physical activity. However, the company is being sued for allegedly misrepresenting its status as a medical device. The lawsuit comes after a study, conducted by scientists Jo and Brett Dolezal at California State Polytechnic University, claimed in its findings that Fitbit’s heart rate readings during physical activity are not accurate.

The study tested 43 adults doing a variety of activities by using the PurePulse heart rate monitor technology together with the BioHarness device (that produces an electrocardiogram used to measure the rhythm of the heart). This was compared to the data produced by the Fitbit. The study found that on average, heart rates were off by 20 to 30 beats per minute, which is approximately a 14 percent error. This means that consumers are potentially putting themselves at an elevated risk, especially those who rely on Fitbits for accurate readings for medical purposes.

Fitbit refutes these claims, saying that they “are designed to provide meaningful data to our users to help them reach their health and fitness goals, and are not intended to be scientific or medical devices.” Jonathan Selbin, the attorney who filed the lawsuit, stated that their marketing and ads suggests otherwise. He said, “If they had just been honest, and said it can give you a ballpark figure most of the time…that would have been OK, but that’s not how they market it, and they charge a premium for it.”

Read more here- “Fitbit Accuracy Questioned in Lawsuit” (Jen Christensen, CNN)

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