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  • Health Watch: Finding an accurate fitness tracker

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  • Weekly Health Watch rail, with items on personal fitness trackers, number to know growth hormone treatment in children and a connection between heart health and mental well-being.
    Tip of the Week
    Personal fitness trackers have surged in usage over the last few years, but a recent Iowa State University study found that some popular devices may be almost 25 percent off in their measurement of calories burned.
    Researchers compared eight consumer fitness trackers against lab equipment in the measurement of energy expenditure. The 60 subjects (30 men and 30 women) wore each tracker plus the lab model while they perfomed a series of 13 routine activities — ranging from computer work to running — for a total of 69 minutes.
    Among the models tested, the BodyMedia FIT was most accurate, when compared to lab equipment, with an error rating of 9.3 percent.
    Following came the Fitbit Zip (10.1 percent), Fitbit One (10.4 percent), Jawbone Up (12.2 percent), Actigraph (12.6 percent), Directlife (12.8 percent), Nike Fuel Band (13 percent) and Basis Band (23.5 percent).
    Number to Know
    15%: As long as a personal fitness tracker is accurate to within about 15 percent, it’s close enough for most purposes and helpful in avoiding the common problem of overestimating calories burned.
    Children’s Health
    Short, otherwise healthy children who are treated with growth hormone (GH) may become taller, but they may also become more depressed and withdrawn over time, compared to children the same age and height who are not treated with GH, a new study finds. “This novel study of the cognitive and emotional effects of GH therapy in children … raises concerns that, despite improvements in height, these children may not achieve psychosocial benefits,” one researcher said.
    —ScienceDaily.com
    Senior Health
    In recent years there has been a rise in medication abuse among people aged 60 or more. The types of prescription medications most commonly abused by people of any age are opioids (painkillers), depressants, and stimulants.
    —NIHSeniorHealth.gov
    New Research
    A new study found that the risk for cognitive impairment is higher for people with poor cardiovascular health. Deficits in learning, memory and/or verbal skills developed in 4.6 percent of study participants with poor heart health and in only 2.6 percent of others.
    — Health.com
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