Here’s Another Commitment Device for Weight Loss

We recently wrote about the use of commitment devices in weight loss, particularly the recent spike in bariatric surgery. While advocates can make a strong argument in favor of the surgery, especially for the morbidly obese, it is obviously a pretty drastic resort.

An article in the current Journal of the American Medical Association highlights a far less invasive commitment device: the pedometer. It turns out that if you give someone a pedometer, especially if you give them a goal for how many steps they should be taking in a day, the results are pretty wondrous:

The results suggest that the use of a pedometer is associated with significant increases in physical activity and significant decreases in body mass index and blood pressure.

There is, however, a strong qualifier:

Whether these changes are durable over the long term is undetermined.

Ah, but that’s always the rub with commitment devices and weight loss, isn’t it? It’s a lot easier to commit and improve in the short term, especially when someone’s watching your behavior. The long term, unobserved, is another matter entirely. Which is probably why bariatric surgery, which is as close to a permanent commitment device as you can get, will continue to rise.

Maybe a newfangled pedometer is called for — something like an electronic ankle bracelet (think Disturbia, if you must) that not only measures your steps but also gives a little electric shock when you spend too much time on the couch.

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  1. JS says:

    Weight loss surgery – I think we are going to be astounded when the long term success rates are revealed.

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  2. JS says:

    Weight loss surgery – I think we are going to be astounded when the long term success rates are revealed.

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  3. Ryan says:

    Maybe we could take the ankle bracelet idea a step further (no pun intended) and place an RFID tag in it. Every day you do not step on a RFID-readable treadmill for a predetermined amount of time you get a shock. At the very least, you would get some use out of that Gold’s Gym membership you bought for your New Year’s resolution.

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  4. Ryan says:

    Maybe we could take the ankle bracelet idea a step further (no pun intended) and place an RFID tag in it. Every day you do not step on a RFID-readable treadmill for a predetermined amount of time you get a shock. At the very least, you would get some use out of that Gold’s Gym membership you bought for your New Year’s resolution.

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  5. Angeline Duopu says:

    I can’t believe she had to buy the lifelike plastic models of human body fat just to help her with her weight lost process. I thing if she really want to lose weight, than she will work harded by going to the gym to work out and washing what she eat, how much of it that she eats and what time she eats it.

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  6. Angeline Duopu says:

    I can’t believe she had to buy the lifelike plastic models of human body fat just to help her with her weight lost process. I thing if she really want to lose weight, than she will work harded by going to the gym to work out and washing what she eat, how much of it that she eats and what time she eats it.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  7. Angeline Duopu says:

    I think it’s very inportant that people in general but mostly women are concerned about there health, body and how other people think about them yet than still, who really care where you are size one or size two? I think those who truly loves you will still loves you no matter how you look, or how many pounds you weigh. Knowing your self and staying healthy is the mayjor thing that I think any teenager should think about and not wanteing to be like other celebrates in magnizes.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  8. Angeline Duopu says:

    I think it’s very inportant that people in general but mostly women are concerned about there health, body and how other people think about them yet than still, who really care where you are size one or size two? I think those who truly loves you will still loves you no matter how you look, or how many pounds you weigh. Knowing your self and staying healthy is the mayjor thing that I think any teenager should think about and not wanteing to be like other celebrates in magnizes.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0