Why I’m Not a Fitbit Fan

by Sarah FitnessComments: 101

fitbitA Fitbit is a type of electronic device used for personal activity tracking. These wireless-enabled, wearable devices measure data such as the number of steps walked, quality of sleep, and other personal metrics.

The Fitbit was developed by the company of the same name founded and managed by James Park and Eric Friedman.

Since then, a proliferation of various styles and models have taken the workout world by storm with Fitbits and similar knock off devices crafted for every personality and need.

The very simple Fitbit Zip, which is about the size of a quarter, tracks only steps taken, distance traveled, and calories burned. The sophisticated Fitbit Flex, which is worn 24 hours a day even while showering and swimming, tracks all its wearer’s movement including sleep patterns.

There are Fitbit apps for the iPhone and Android too which allow fans to log their food, activities, water intake, and weight, as well as track their fitness goals throughout the day even while offline.
While the Fitbit and devices like them may seem like a very helpful tool to keep people motivated and moving toward exercise goals, I don’t personally use one nor do I recommend them to folks that ask me about them.  Here are my reasons.

Exercise is About Relaxation, Movement and Stress Reduction

For me, exercise is primarily about movement, relaxation and stress reduction. It frees the mind from the cares of the day for a short period of time.

Adding a lot of data and personal activity tracking to the mix is decidedly un-relaxing to me. I don’t want my every breath, step and heartbeat chronicled, tracked and categorized as I go through my workout whether it be a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood or a high intensity rebounding session on our outdoor trampoline.

Tracking my steps around the house as I do laundry, cook and wash dishes seems very over the top and rather invasive too.  Can’t we just enjoy our exercise and daily activities without having to micromanage and examine every aspect about them under a microscope?

Exercise is not primarily about weight loss either at least to me.  It’s about getting the blood pumping to facilitate the body’s detoxification mechanisms and to build and maintain muscle, fitness and balance.  Simple burning of calories may help you lose weight but this alone never got anyone healthy, so why bother tracking exercise at such an elementary, two dimensional level?

While some may find Fitbits helpful to the exercise process, to me, they detract from the psychological benefits of exercise enjoyment by micromanaging what should be experienced in an expansive manner.

Fitbit: Unnecessary Exposure to EMF Radiation

There are now pictures available that show actual wireless radiation surrounding a person using a wireless enabled device. You can see photographer Luis Hernan’s incredible photos here.

While it is basically impossible to get away from the constant bathing of the body in wireless radiation while at work or in a public place, exercise particularly in the outdoors offers a prime opportunity for rest and release from the onslaught of electromagnetic fields (EMF) for a brief period of time.

It makes no sense, at least to me, to be hooked up to a device like a Fitbit that emits any sort of EMF radiation while exercising which is already putting the body under physical stress from sweating and detoxification.

Fitbits that people wear while sleeping seem most dangerous of all.  There is absolutely no data proving the safety of these devices during sleep even though the user manuals claim that “This equipment complies with FCC radiation exposure limits set forth for an uncontrolled environment.”

Quality sleep is very important for maintaining a healthy weight. Research has shown that poor quality sleep causes weight problems. Even just a few nights of poor sleep can lead to almost immediate weight gain.  Are Fitbit nighttime wearers inadvertently undoing their daytime efforts to lose weight?

In fact, sleep and good health are so inextricably linked that many holistic medical practitioners recommend turning all wireless sources off at night with some going so far as to recommend flipping the entire house breaker until morning!  The reason?  The EMF radiation swirling around you may negatively affect sleep in a very profound way over the long term.

I’ve written before about how wireless baby monitors aren’t a good idea for sleeping baby. Fitbits worn during sleep transmitting data via wireless are a bad idea for similar reasons.

According to PowerWatch, a wireless baby monitor at less than 1 meter away from the baby’s crib was roughly equivalent to the microwave radiation experienced from a cell phone tower only 150 meters away.  How much worse would a wireless enabled Fitbit be that is worn on your physical person as you exercise or sleep?

Interestingly, if you have dental amalgams (silver fillings) or titanium implants, this may make the wireless radiation from constantly wearing a digital Fitbit type device even more problematic.  According to Lina Garcia, DDS, DMD:

“When considering the numerous reasons for the increasing prevalence of chronic illness in our society, I think that we should not overlook the possibility that metal-containing dental work, especially titanium implants, could be acting like antennas for the microwave [which includes wireless] transmissions going on between our cell phones and all of the cell phone towers in our 21st century environment.

… it is important to be aware that metal dental restorations and implants have already been shown to cause galvanic and electromagnetic stress for the human body. Galvanic and electromagnetic stress occurs when an unnatural electric current is generated by metal ions interacting with the electrolyte-rich fluid known as saliva.

If you doubt that you are surrounded by very strong wireless radiation while wearing a wireless enabled device be it a cell phone or a Fitbit, you can now download an app that will give you a colorful visual on those waves invisibly surrounding you with blue indicating the strongest wireless radiation down to red which indicates the weakest signal.

Heavy Metal Exposure from a Fitbit?

In March 2014, the Consumer Product Safety Commission officially recalled the Fitbit Force due to injuries to an estimated 9,900 people.  These customers suffered from skin irritations such as blisters, rashes, and peeling skin after continual wearing of the Fitbit Force for a period of time.  Fitbit stated that after consulting with medical professionals, the general assessment is that the skin problems were likely allergic reactions to nickel, a alloy in the stainless steel or adhesives used to assemble the Fitbit Force.

While it is well known that ingesting heavy metals like nickel can cause health problems, what is less well known is that the skin can absorb heavy metals too. Cooking acidic foods in stainless steel is known to leech alloys like nickel into the food, but could stainless steel placed on the skin which is normally acidic at a pH of 4.5-5.5 leech metals too?  Even minute amounts of heavy metals in the body can have negative health consequences so this is far from a trivial concern.

Until there is more research and definitive answers to this question, it seems prudent to be wary of products like the Fitbit Force that expose the skin to heavy metals for extended periods of time.

Must Have a Fitbit?

If you find that despite any health concerns, you simply must have a device like a Fitbit to track personal activities, my suggestion would be to seek one of the older models that work mechanically rather than digitally.

For example, a basic mechanical pedometer counts steps by measuring how much the body shakes. An internal object moves up and down with the motion of the person wearing the pedometer, which senses the vibrations of feet hitting the floor. As the ball moves, it activates a switch that clicks the counter forward.

You can tell that you have a mechanical pedometer as it will work simply by shaking it even without any walking involved.

My Experience Using a Fitbit Scale

While I don’t wear a Fitbit like device for the reasons cited above, I did use a Fitbit scale once a few months back. These devices measure BMI, body fat and other health statistics by sending an electrical signal through the body.

While the companies making these scales insist the signal shot through the body to gather the data is safe, the scale isn’t recommended for pregnant women, children under 10, or anyone with an implanted medical device.


While I do not consider myself EMF sensitive in any way, I felt immediately light headed and fatigued after having my health statistics gathered by the Fitbit scale.  The experience really surprised me, as I didn’t expect a single use to produce such a reaction. I didn’t feel right until a number of hours later.

Needless to say, I won’t be using a Fitbit type of scale again in the future!

Use of a Fitbit Like Device is a Personal Decision

While choosing to use products like the Fitbit ultimately is a personal decision like whether or not to put a cellphone up to your head, in my book, it seems important to learn to switch off from our constant exposure to electronic devices and EMF radiation.

Exercise and sleep are the most obvious times to give yourself both a mental and physical break from EMF exposure.

Do you use a Fitbit?  What are your reasons for doing so and do the potential health risks concern you?

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


Sources and More Information

Are AMR Devices Safer than Smart Meters?

The Dangers of Induction Stoves (and what to buy instead)

The Heavy Metal Hazard

Heavy Metal Toxicity Raises Risk of EMF Sensitivity

Reducing Exposure to Dirty Electricity

The Health Hazards of Wireless Baby Monitors

Harvard MD Speaks Out about the Health Dangers of Smart Meters

How to Protect Yourself from a Smart Meter

Picture Credit

Comments (101)

  • Sheryl

    I am very concerned with the technology surrounding us in the forms of the various radiations and it is nice to know I am not alone. My entire family uses fitbit and track each other to see who walks the most. My sister bought one for her 12 year old daughter and I told her that it is not safe and to do her research as she already knows my feeling on them. The common response I get is everything is bad for you so whatever! Well, I do not use wifi in my home, I do have a cell phone but turn it off at home, and yes I have a landline ! I live in the forest so I have beautiful negative ions surrounding me when I go home. I believe that if we reduce our exposure the best we can our lives become more balanced. Disease whether chronic or acute comes from an imbalance in our lives. Look at how out of balance our society is. I believe everything we do to keep our balance benifits the planet!

    June 29th, 2016 2:29 pm Reply
  • Mary

    I simply don’t understand why people nowadays feel the need to micromanage, micro-process, and micro-analyze every second of their lives for the supposed goal of fitness, health, etc.. They don’t realize that it is this very over-stimulation and constant connection to technology that is doing them the most harm. People have always found ways of being healthy without relying on fancy, expensive, intrusive, and ultimately useless little gadgets. Also, has anybody thought of the possibility of the government/companies using this information to track/spy on/control them?

    June 22nd, 2016 2:06 am Reply
  • Pat

    My daughter bought me a FitBit HR for Mothers Day. I wore it 24/7. I’ve noticed that my memory has declined since then – difficulty coming up with familiar words. I used it on my left wrist and when I sleep I often put that arm under my pillow. I don’t wear it anymore since I feel it impacted my memory.

    June 19th, 2016 8:59 am Reply
  • kim

    i lost my baby through wearing my fitbit, as soon as i put it on, i started bleeding heavily within two days and after a week of wearing it 24/7, i realised it was the only thing i had done different, i took it off and i stopped bleeding within 24 hours.
    they are dangerous.

    May 13th, 2016 5:55 am Reply
  • Sharon

    Sarah, thank you for this post. I was considering a Fitbit and while looking at them wondered about the effects of wearing something with Wifi and I found your article which solidified my opinon on getting one. I wanted to ask if you happen to know if sleeping next to a Cpap with Wifi would be harmful. I was not given a choice of which Cpap machine I could have and was given one with Wifi. I have concerns about sleeping next to it at night. I’d like to find out if it’s harmful so I can fight it if it is. Thank you.

    May 3rd, 2016 7:04 pm Reply
    • Sarah

      Yes, sleeping next to a wifi device all night long is problematic. Ironic since a cpap machine is supposed to help improve sleep! See if you can turn off the wifi part of it.

      May 3rd, 2016 10:22 pm Reply
  • Dr. Pri Bandara

    Fitbits are another microwave transmitter so close to your body and without doubt a potential risk to health as microwaves are readily absorbed by body tissue and can interfere with cellular functions – inducing oxidative stress and disrupting ion channels in membranes for example. I have measured levels of EMR emissions and they are quite high. Wireless monitoring of any health parameter is potentially dangerous.

    May 1st, 2016 4:43 pm Reply
    • Anne

      i have been looking for a way to track my sleep and the REM-fit was suggested to me and i have done some research newswatchtv.com/2016/02/12/rem-fit/ and was wondering if you thought this would be damaging to me in the long run? thanks for your time

      May 2nd, 2016 5:01 pm Reply
      • Sarah

        Any device that is strapped to your body and uses wifi or cellular radiation to track biological activity is problematic to health over time.

        May 3rd, 2016 8:07 am Reply
  • MIchelle

    Thanks Sarah for the article. I had held off on purchasing a fitbit for the info you mentioned but after all my extended family got one, and wanting to lose a few pounds I thought I would get one. What I am curious about is this: Since recently researching more about emf’s radiation etc. I have decided to keep my cell phone on airplane mode most of the time and only check periodically, I can also disable blue tooth on my phone, so technically can’t I still control this way when my fitbit sincs with my phone and thus avoid constant emf throughout the the day, I plan to take it off at the end of the day and let it sinc while I[‘m away in another room for a bit. and then charge it and put my phone back on airplane mode. What do you think of this???

    April 14th, 2016 1:43 am Reply
    • Sarah

      This may work Michelle … see if you can get a model that will function as you need it to in order to keep yourself safe. Don’t wear it while you sleep though.

      April 14th, 2016 8:43 am Reply
  • John

    While there are no exact right or wrongs of having a fitbit… it’s all about choices. Personally I have a fitbit just to track steps and progress. It is also nice to look at what my heartbeat at rest is once in awhile. I don’t even follow the suggestions of keeping to a diet or steps/day. So having a fitbit does not equal to micromanage because no one is forcing you to micromanage. I only chose fitbit because I feel that their sleep tracking, steps, and other features are rather accurate compared to other similar products. I do agree it is rather expensive for a product that tracks nothing but sleep, eat, steps, etc… but it is my choice to get it.
    Many people makes assumption and association that their pains come from fitbit automatically without taking into account of all factors. Psychological, that’s what the brain does. Give it another chance. The fitbit does make my wrist feel tired sometimes not so much as hurting. If that’s the case, just take it off for awhile when you are sitting at work for example. The product manual also tells people to wear the product loosely fyi.
    As for the sources cited, it seems to cite that radiation is bad for you in general, yes we know this. But do you have sources that target only fitbit products? It sounds like to me that you are telling us not to buy cell phones, because I assure you that cell phones emit more radiation than a fitbit’s bluetooth. If you really want a goodnight’s rest, just don’t look at your cellphone an hour or two before sleep. As for exercises, make sure you eat enough carbs (carbs aren’t good but necessary for exercise – This is a whole other topic).
    That being said, the use of fitbit product is all about personal preference. It is good for keeping track of things. And eventually you can learn to eat healthy on your own and can stop using the product.

    April 12th, 2016 5:32 pm Reply
  • Rob C

    I’ve had my fitbit charge HR for 4 months now, I’ve lost nearly a stone, I’m fitter, more motivated and actually have a clue about getting enough sleep, the right nutrition and exercise in my normal day.

    I’ve had no reactions to the band, the HR light or anything really and i sleep well.

    Unsure if all of this is unfounded unproven nonsense? If you have your bluetooth off the device isn’t attempting to communicate with anything.

    As for baby monitors, again who knows how much is true but on this I’d say why risk it, just go for a 40Mhz analogue voice activated monitor – proven to be MUCH safer.

    March 9th, 2016 4:36 am Reply
  • deb

    Can anyone recommend a good reliable mechanical pedometer that also counts calories along with the steps?

    February 3rd, 2016 4:42 pm Reply
  • Nicola

    I’ve had my fitbit charge for 4 days, I don’t wear it to sleep and I’m not a moron and know I didn’t just “wear it too tight. ” I literally have what I can only describe as nerve pain in my wrist and hand. Static, tingly, and mildly bruised. W T *!

    January 24th, 2016 9:56 pm Reply
    • Jeanne

      I have been wearing a fitbit HR for for 6-7 months. It was uncomfortable at first since I have a very small wrist. It was pokey and really hard to sleep with, but I was adamant in trying it. (I wore it loosely eventually got used to it but it was still a little annoying.) I loved the idea about tracking my calories, sleep, weight, heart rate, etc, etc,. I’m a statistics hoarder. I lost about 6 pounds, which I have kept off all this time and I learned a lot. I learned about the intensity of my workout and what it feels like for my heart rate to be at a certain level. I learned what it feels like to go several days without reaching 10,000 (bleh…) vs. reaching 15,000 (great!). I learned what eating a certain number of calories felt like, and how calories from different foods satiate you. All good stuff. I’m glad I tried it. HOWEVER……..Recently my thumb started to have nerve pain. I couldn’t hold a waterbottle in my left hand (the hand I wore the HR) without my thumb hurting. I thought maybe I have arthritis? I ignored it. During spin class i wanted to get a more accurate reading of my steps, so I put the HR under my tights just below my knee and tucked the capris in under it. This worked well, but after a few spin classes, my left knee started to hurt. So I switched to my right knee. Then my right knee started to hurt. Hmmm pattern here. Just this week, I had a freezing/burning sensation in my left palm under my pinky and ring fingers. I wouldn’t go away. I thought it could be bc of my posture and I was possibly pinching a nerve that went down my arm so I uprighted myself more consciously and stretched a lot. no change in the pain. I took off the watch and ask my husband to massage my hand and wrist, which he did for about 5 minutes. It felt better. So I put the watch back on. The pain returned. I finally came to my senses and just took off the watch for good. BUT, I decided to use it in spin class. I put it in my sock around my ankle. 15 minutes into class, my knee began to hurt. I took it off. The pain went away.

      For those of you thinking of buying a fitbit HR, please realize it can have a detrimental effect on you. Perhaps it won’t show up right away, but even if you think it isn’t doing you any harm, it is and it just creeps up on you. Kind of like potato chips…. but that’s another story.

      June 8th, 2016 1:41 pm Reply
  • Dawntwilight

    I have SVT (Supraventricular Tachycardia) which is under control with medication, The first few hours of wearing my activity tracker I felt off, but thought it could just be me. I was awaken in the middle of the night with severe SVT attacks and heart palpitation. Trying to think what could have brought this on, the only change was my activity tracker. I took it off. Within an hour I was back to normal. I have tried wearing it several times since, but have the same result after a couple of hours. My Cardio has no explanation and honestly either do I.

    January 16th, 2016 4:11 pm Reply
    • dawnster

      I have also had toe same issues with the palpitations pretty bad. I’m set up to go see my cardiologist this Friday to run some tests.. In the mean time, I let my 11 year old son wear it to school Friday to show his friends and had a seizure and possible heart thing going on. I wonder if this is the cause of the problem with him. I will definitely bring it up to the neurologist and cardiologist.

      February 8th, 2016 1:59 pm Reply
  • D Cole

    Wore FITBIT HR for almost a year. I finally decided I was tired of being a slave to it. I would stress me out if I didn’t do a certain amount in a day. I’m already extremely active!! I agree that exercise should be stress free and the Fitbit was adding stress. I also got a strange rash under it. I’m Fitbit free and still moving!!

    December 18th, 2015 6:20 pm Reply
  • Halina

    I wear fitbit since May. In July I started to have wrist pain and I did not associate it with fitbit until few days ago. Then I took it off. Pain is slowly going away. I had a full blown physiotherapy and wrist cast and all. Nothing helped until I took the fitbit off. Also, I have developed a muscle bump just at the place fitbit rested on my arm. Beware of Fitbit! I need to tell my husband and anyone around to take if off too.

    December 16th, 2015 4:08 pm Reply
  • Paul

    Fitbit is a useless piece of jewelry.
    All it does is tell me that I have slept and walked today.
    DUH.?….I know that.
    So how about suggesting things that might change the program?
    Otherwise do not waste your money.

    December 13th, 2015 1:36 am Reply
  • Pat

    I first got my FitBit in July, wore it for a week or two and became very sick. Light headed, confused, heart palpitations and heavy chest I actually thought I was having a stroke with speech loss and issues with my words. Not ever thinking there was an issue with the fitbit. I am 44 , 5’2 and weigh 135, rather healthy normally. I took the fit bit off only because I was not feeling well. Started feeling better, got back to having energy and put it back on since I felt good enough to move and exercise. Again in a few days I felt AWEFUL again and ended up taking it off for a few days while I had a cat scan and stress test. No negative findings there and still never thought this was a fit bit issue but my fit bit sat on my dresser for months. Last week I charged it up and said its time to get back to moving more. I wore it for 3 days only during the day time and I have had the same issues, NOW I am wondering if the fit bit is an issue. I called and mentioned it to my Dr. Who said no it must be a coincidence. I will take my fit bit off yet again and see how I feel in a few days and try it one more time. Just thought I would share this in case there was anyone else with these issues.

    November 24th, 2015 9:21 pm Reply
    • Sandra

      I can’t believe your doctor said it was a coincidence. How? I highly doubt it was a coincidence.

      December 15th, 2015 5:53 am Reply
    • Evan K

      Can I take a guess that you were conscious of “so called” side effects with wearing a fitbit? You should go to the website anxietyzone.com , Im not suggesting anything but its worth a look around as many people underestimate the physiological effects that can be induced by your brain.

      May 10th, 2016 7:08 am Reply
    • Mary Jane

      I wanted to share my experience…it is very similar to Pat’s. Though I really like the information my FitBit HR Charge has provided me over the past 5 weeks, I think I should stop wearing it. Like Pat, after 2 weeks of wearing my FitBit I began having periods of significant chest pressure (yes it hurts), breathlessness, dizziness and after about 4 in a row, weakness. I decided to not wear my FitBit for a few days as that was the only thing I could think of that was causes my symptoms (besides possible indigestion). I have high blood pressure so I am very conscience of what is going on with me physiologically. After 2 days the bouts of pressure in my chest discontinued. I decided to begin wearing my FitBit again after 4 days but only during the day. So far so good. So, I began wearing it again full-time. After 2 days – the chest pressure, shortness of breathe and dizziness started again. I was thinking I should see my doctor and have a stress-test done. But since I saw that someone else had similar concerns/symptoms…I will see how I feel over the next few days. I may try the FitBit one more time….just to confirm the correlation. I do not think it is coincidence.

      June 9th, 2016 11:45 am Reply
  • Sarah J

    I bought a Fitbit flex about a month ago and I’m really pleased with it so far. I was looking for a way to keep fit but I don’t like jogging or going to the gym but I do love walking. The lights light up every 2000 steps and it reminds me to walk more, I’ve bee getting out for a walk after work every day when I can to try and reach 10000 per day. The lights coming on are really motivating. I’m not using it for weight loss as I am naturally slim. I haven’t had any sleep problems or weight problems.

    October 14th, 2015 5:09 pm Reply
  • PaoChanel

    After my requests to the Fitbit company were ignored, I stated this petition asking them to implement an off button for the bluetooth so we may control how much radiation we absorb. Your article was one of several I read that prompted me to return my Fitbit for a refund. Please support and share this petition:

    October 9th, 2015 5:51 pm Reply
  • kathy

    I have been using my Fitbit One since March 2nd. In 4 months I have lost 28 pounds. For me, the Fitbit was not only about movement but about eating healthy and losing weight. There may be a lot of you out there that don’t have weight problems like I have. I have struggled with weight since I was 13 and am now 62. I have tried many, many times over 50 years to stay on track with a eating and physical activity plan and none of them have worked for more than 30 days or so…or to be more honest, I couldn’t stay with the plan. With the Fitbit, this is the first time all pieces have come together for me in a simple to use device. I log my food everyday and have step goals that are reasonable for me. Not only has the Fitbit helped me to start moving more and be mindful of what I am eating, I have inspired 5 other family members to get one and to start moving more. It’s been fun and inspirational to help each other achieve our goals. When I am out walking, I do enjoy my surrounding and the movement. It’s a great stress reliever. My husband and I have started walking together and its a great relaxing and bonding time for us (we have been married 44 years). Believe me, this is a much better activity than sitting in front of a tv or computer. So please don’t be discouraged by naysayers…Do what’s right for you. Fitbit has been a wonderful tool for me to learn new healthy habits that were not taught to me by my parents. Find people that will support you in your goals. I had 127.5 pounds to lose and now have 99.5 left…taking it 5 pounds at a time. I will not give up my Fitbit…it has been an awesome tool for me.

    July 8th, 2015 12:00 pm Reply
  • veepaa

    I was just going to place order today for fit bit. I see continues light blink under the dial which capture heart rate and hence i decide to see if it is safe and find ur article. I decide now not to buy it. I am not sure if it is correct or not. But it is better not to have it if there is any chance of health risk.

    June 26th, 2015 5:50 pm Reply
  • Jana

    I started wearing Fitbit two days ago and today I started noticing an intense pain in my wrist where I was wearing the Fitbit. I took it off and will not wear it again.

    April 26th, 2015 12:30 am Reply
    • Jimmy

      Ummm, can I have it?

      May 4th, 2015 10:10 pm Reply
      • Sheila

        You can have mine. I cannot wear it. I thought all these people griping about the rash just weren’t letting the skin breathe, or weren’t keeping it clean, or taking it off at lest a little every day. Well, now I know. I wore it for a few hours for a walk on Sunday, took it off. Wore it for my workout Monday. It will take days for this rash, almost a burn, to go away. I clean it a minimum of twice a day. I have tried all different kinds of cleaners. I stopped wearing it most of the day. This last option is the best because now I leave it at work or home or where ever I am not exercising. So….basically…. an epic waste of $200. Plus, I am not going to jump to conclusions, but my wrist and finger ache after I have worn it for a few hours.

        September 30th, 2015 11:30 am Reply
        • Zenon van Deventer

          Just got mine to can’t be sure but these things are selling by the tens of millions and problems are less than 1 in 10 000, so less than any shoes, any watch, any just about anything, per person. Are you sure it’s not because you have absorbed all those things you say you used to clean it with? They list specifically what you should clean it with.

          April 14th, 2016 11:10 am Reply
  • Lisa

    Thank you for this article. I’ve been wondering when articles like this would start appearing. It just doesn’t make sense to think wearing one of these devices around your wrist 24/7 would be safe. If we’re warned about phone and tablet usage, why would we think having a bracelet attached to us would not be harmful?? It amazes me what people will do without really thinking it out first. Hopefully more people will start speaking out about it soon. I would guess in the near future we will see more wrist issues in people… Glad to know I wasn’t “crazy”. 😉

    April 18th, 2015 11:35 am Reply
  • keli

    Im in a clinical trial involving wearing a Jawbone. I am waking up through the entire night, Its exponetially gotten worse as Ive worn it 24/7 for over a month. Im not reaching a deep sleep. Last night I took 2 advil PM’s which usually knock me out. I still woke up 4 to 5 times. I am wondering if wearing it is depleting my melatonin. Im sad to have to leave this clinical trial but something is suspect.

    April 17th, 2015 8:15 am Reply
    • Julia

      I don’t believe the Jawbone uses Bluetooth or any other wireless signal. I’m pretty sure you have to manually plug it into your phone/computer to get your details. That would make it a safer option but some people complain about it being too bulky or coming off too easily.

      I’ve actually worn a Fitbit Flex (not the Charge; I think that’s the one they recalled for burns) for two years and have never experienced any pain, wrist issues or sleep problems. I love that it tells me when and how many times–if any–I was restless during the night and how long it took to fall asleep. If I have a great night’s sleep or a poor night’s sleep, I can look at the previous day’s log and see when I ate, what I ate, how active I was, etc. and find trends in what causes me to have better or worse sleep.

      October 23rd, 2015 9:05 am Reply
  • Jason

    Just received my Fitbit Charge HR today, felt intense pain in my wrist as soon as I put it on, so had a look online and found this article. Super disappointed I didn’t research this before purchasing.

    April 15th, 2015 9:19 pm Reply
  • Jolene

    THe reason I looked online about the risks of wearing a device like Fitbit is because I believe it is messing with my menstrual cycle. I am 47 years old and believe I am peri menopausal. I used Fitbit a while back and thought maybe it was messing with it because I would not have a period and then I would start wearing it and I would get it. I haven’t worn a Fitbit for months and I thought I’d give it another shot. Again within four days of wearing it I had my period, which I hadn’t had for a while. Could be coincidence, but I seriously wasn’t even thinking about it, I was just excited to start wearing it again because it motivates me!

    February 24th, 2015 11:22 am Reply
    • Barb

      I looked on line for side effects because I was having severe muscle pain in the arm I was wearing it on. I didn’t think anything of it at first, but when my doctor couldn’t find a medical reason for my muscle pain I tried thinking of what I was doing that might be causing it. Laying in bed last night, which is when I noticed the pain most, it dawned on me that the pain had started shortly after I had started wearing the Fitbit. I took it off and left it on my nightstand. Within five minutes the pain was very noticeably less and I was finally able to get to sleep. The next morning I put it on again, but on my other wrist. By afternoon I was getting pain in that arm. It’s upsetting really because I found it really good at keeping me on track. I won’t be wearing it anymore.

      February 24th, 2015 3:14 pm Reply
  • John

    Please be aware the photographs are not actual images of Electromagnetic Fields. They are pictures of a device that lights up in different colors when Electromagnetic Fields are detected. I believe the word choice in the description of that photograph is misleading.

    December 1st, 2014 1:54 pm Reply
    • Clarissa

      Seriously, I agree! If you read the page, the man took photos that picked up the strength of wifi signal and transmitted that into color. I know many people are totally paranoid about those sort of things, but honestly if you’re afraid to use a fitbit because of the internet connection you probably shouldn’t be blogging… Ya know?

      April 22nd, 2015 8:19 pm Reply
    • Dave

      We are talking about FITBIT and the pictures show a WIFI signal and most if not all FITBIT watches do NOT use a WIFI signal. The phone uses WIFI. The Watch uses Bluetooth and in most Cases low energy blue tooth so we are talking about 2 separate things all together. That tells me this entire article is not presenting the facts correctly. I have had multiple versions of the FITBIT and now wearing the FITBIT charge HR and like it says in the directions, if you wear it too tightly your skin may be sensitive to it. The easy answer is to loosen up the watch band or take it off for some periods of time. I am not a doctor, but believe the benefits of being able to see my heart rate, far outweighs a slight discomfort I may feel.

      June 17th, 2015 2:22 pm Reply
  • Vicki Taylor via Facebook

    Ooh. Ouch. I have two (titanium) cochlear implants… literally right inside my skull, next to my brain. Fitbits aside (I don’t have one) I wonder what electromagnetic fields from my other devices are doing to me. :/

    October 29th, 2014 3:41 am Reply
  • Cassie

    Very interesting article. I use mine because of a wellness program at work. The fitbit is linked to our wellness program website so that I get “credit”. Participation earns points which get us discounts on insurance and other great benefits like discounts on hotels so we can afford a vacation. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to participate in this portion of the wellness program. It has also really made us conscious of how much exercise we get on any given day and has allowed us to set goals so that we keep active (which is hard with 2 kids under 2). But Obviously if it’s doing serious damage to us, I’d rather not use it. You’ve given me something to think about.

    October 28th, 2014 6:11 pm Reply
    • Dawn

      Please research for yourself. These types of articles can be misleading. Just because they dig up a few articles doesn’t mean that the opinion of the doctor writing the article is correct. I got this off the net about how powerful the output of the fitbit is. I am sure most people have their cell phones on them just as much as they would their fitbit. And it would be close to an equal amount as the cell phone has a much greater output. Also, if this is something that is helping you greatly become fit and healthy I would say the benefits outweigh the risks. There are a WHOLE huge list of things that can hurt you health wise when you are not in shape and are overweight. If you do not really need the fitbit why use it anyway?

      Part of article I found:
      For example, wearables from Fitbit use Bluetooth Low Energy, which is a “lower power technology than classic Bluetooth typically used in headsets, and operates at powers dramatically lower than cellphones,” a company spokeswoman told Foxnews.com in an email.

      In fact, she added, the output power of Fitbit’s trackers is so low, the FCC does not require them to be tested for Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), a measure of the rate at which energy is absorbed by the human body when exposed to RF radiation, including microwave radiation). Cellphones and laptops, on the other hand, must pass strict SAR testing requirements, since they operate at higher power levels.

      January 26th, 2015 7:27 pm Reply
  • Kirsten McCamley via Facebook

    Would the same be true for a regular heart rate monitor?

    October 28th, 2014 12:09 pm Reply
    • HRM Owner

      I don’t know, but a heart rate monitor is worn only for a short period of time.

      March 21st, 2015 3:24 pm Reply
  • C

    Thanks for the thought-provoking article! I was just about to shell out $70 for one of these but did a quick web search for the safety of fitbit first and I found your article. I turn my wifi off when I’m asleep and don’t live too close to neighbors for there’s to reach me. I notice my sleep seems to be better this way, so why would it make sense to add a wifi tracker to me while I sleep?! Thanks for the reality check.

    October 25th, 2014 7:01 pm Reply
  • Bobby Kilkenny

    Electromagnetic radiation emitted from Fitbit devices would have to be trace amounts. The trackers have a very low power output – less than 1% of the output power in a typical cell phone. If they emitted much EMF, the battery on them wouldn’t last very long. According to their website, the battery on the Flex lasts 5 days. And the little 3V coin battery on the Zip lasts 4 to 6 months!

    August 27th, 2014 10:41 pm Reply
    • KJ

      This is intersecting. I am the biggest Fitbit fan.. So I bought the HR. I’m noticing wrist pain that I have never had before… And it def scares me. Why on earth would this device cause this pain. When I take it off the pain goes away. I dont want to stop wearing it but I’m scared it could be harming my body. :-(

      July 25th, 2015 8:07 am Reply
      • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        It IS harming your body. Return it if you can.

        July 25th, 2015 8:33 am Reply
  • Kathy

    I researched bands quite a bit before getting the newer Garmin Vivofit. This band only transmits data when I sync it to my computer (or cellphone). So I’m hoping that drastically cuts down on EMF’s. Also the band doesn’t have any exposed metal parts – just a rubber/vinyl material band – so I’m hoping that isn’t a concern either. I have a desk job, and even though I’m active, I was shocked how little I moved throughout the day, unless I made a specific effort to do so. And in that manner, the tracker has been very helpful. Although, I’ve often wondered about wearing anything like this 24/7 – and your article will make me consider my actions. Thank you!

    August 20th, 2014 6:31 pm Reply
  • Elizabeth M

    thanks Sarah for your informative email. Your article makes some good points about EMF. We have bought into the wi-fi world so much we don’t think about the radiation that it is spewing into our brains, let alone our bodies!
    I purchased a FitBit about 2 years ago and used for awhile, during that time I didn’t notice any negative side-effects.
    I read an article recently that stated that most people wear these devices for only 6 months then they are shelved, which is good news!

    August 20th, 2014 1:26 pm Reply
  • Amber Piekarski

    I downloaded the EMF app and went outside of my wireless range and held my fitbit FORCE up to it and it gave me a red screen…which is the lowest amount of EMF possible on the scale… So I think it’s probably just fine. :) I’d be more concerned with wireless exposure, when I used the app close to my computer it was a blue screen up to 85 on the scale.

    August 20th, 2014 12:42 pm Reply
  • Tonya Scarborough

    I’ve seen a few other healthy lifestyle bloggers advocating the fitbit, and wondered how they justify the EMF’s. Maybe most people aren’t aware of the dangers. Thanks for the post.

    August 20th, 2014 12:37 pm Reply
  • Nora McCaw White via Facebook

    I have a jawbone Up I plug it in. I need to boost to really track my activity. I am losing weight. Since I am obese I think I will keep it up.

    July 18th, 2014 9:11 pm Reply
  • Terri Martin-Marier via Facebook

    Now I might return the two that I bought

    July 18th, 2014 8:58 pm Reply
  • Radosveta Hall via Facebook

    Only uploads when you are close to your “dongle”, a small USB device you insert in your computer. It will not emit anything unless you’re close to it for a handshake between the devices. Mine uploads once daily when I get home and close to my computer. Only thing that keeps me walking my 10,000 steps daily and keeps me accountable. A tiny device, feel like this is a bit too much of fear mongering here.

    July 18th, 2014 9:34 am Reply
  • Debbie Jacko via Facebook

    wow! I never realized that. My kids bought me one for Christmas and I wear it 24/7.

    July 18th, 2014 9:20 am Reply
  • Sharon Catney Donovan via Facebook

    interesting. I was stressing about which on to buy, but after reading this, I thinj I will buy…. nothing. This brings up some old points. Save my Joey and go buy some healthy food

    July 18th, 2014 8:35 am Reply
  • Denise

    Thanks for this information. The EMF exposure did not dawn on me at all when I purchased the fitbit. I have a digital pedometer that runs on a battery is that OK? I also listen to Pandora through my cell phone while I am walking… I suppose that is not good either. I was wearing the fitbit to bed to track my sleeping because I work the overnight shift (which is not good on my physical self to begin with) but will stop that. I have more trouble getting weight off since being on the overnight shift… thanks for all that helpful information. I have so many things going against me I have no idea if I am coming or going. :(

    July 18th, 2014 7:43 am Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      That sounds fine … old fashioned battery operated pedometer. Good choice!

      Yes, the cellphone exposure is a problem … can you use an mp3 player instead? Very inexpensive option.

      July 18th, 2014 9:13 am Reply
    • Darlene

      I also bought the fitbit to keep track of my sleep. (I work odd hours.) I’ve used it for a few months now, and really like the activity tracking. The sleep tracking was disappointing, though.

      If you’re looking for a sleep tracker, I’d recommend the SleepBot app. Unlike fitbit, it will give you statistics like average daily sleep time, wake time, and duration of sleep on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. You can set your own optimal hours for sleep duration, and it will calculate your sleep debt.

      As for radiation, I just hit “going to sleep” on the screen, turn it off, and leave it on the desk. It’s my preferred sleep tracking method, now. (Admittedly, I still use the fitbit for activity tracking. The radiation makes me nervous, but it’s actually motivating me to work out.)

      July 23rd, 2014 4:19 pm Reply
      • Clarissa

        I love my fitbit! I also listen to pandora when I run, to me it makes running more enjoyable.

        Does the idea of radiation make me nervous? A little. But my honest opinion is that I’m not going to live to be 100 years old. Nor do I want to my knees and shoulders are already shot from high school athletics. Of course I regret nothing, I loved playing sports. But I’m going to die eventually, and that’s not debatable. Am I going to spend my whole life terrified that wifi will give me cancer? No. I’m going to use my wifi to watch enjoyable movies in my down time, research for work when I must, and in my spare time, I am going to run, listen to pandora, and wear my fitbit so I can later view how my performance is improving and come up with new goals.

        April 22nd, 2015 8:29 pm Reply
        • JJ

          If your knees are shot why are you running?

          August 17th, 2015 9:45 pm Reply
          • mamacita

            Running is not bad for your knees if your form is good. It can also make damaged knees less painful.

            March 1st, 2016 1:47 pm
    • K

      1. Using an MP3 player is only helpful if you’re somewhere that you won’t need a phone.

      2. The EMF levels listed are negligible compared to other electronic devices that are used daily. Things like the transformer outside your home, your electrical appliances (TV, fridge, blender, anything that is plugged into electricity), your wireless internet, MP3 Players, etc.

      3. The only time you need to transmit with the Fitbit is when you are syncing your device and you can take it off while that happens if you’re that concerned with the EMF.

      4. You don’t have to wear the Flex (or any other tracker) 24 hours a day. You can wear it as long as you feel comfortable doing so.

      5. Many exercise programs advise to keep track of your activity levels so you can match you activity level to your caloric and fat intake.

      6. The only actually tracking that you don’t have to manually activate (unless it’s the fitbit Charge HR) is the activity tracker which will then calculate the calories burned based on the duration of the activity. This is no different and no more invasive than an exercise machine that does the same thing.

      April 20th, 2015 10:15 am Reply
  • Veronica Navarro via Facebook

    Call me old fashion but I don’t care about these things. Just exercise to feel good, no counting anything here. Plain and simple…

    July 18th, 2014 7:26 am Reply
    • Domenic

      Or you can do the exact same thing with your Fitbit device, only more accurate.

      August 11th, 2015 1:53 pm Reply
  • Michelle Stumpf via Facebook

    That was what bothered me, it was always searching for a signal to connect and update my stats. It’s buried in a drawer somewhere – been dead for a long time!

    July 18th, 2014 7:14 am Reply
  • Jen Keller Faust via Facebook

    I would definitely never wear one during sleep.

    July 18th, 2014 7:02 am Reply
  • Aces

    So true about the EMF.
    And stress is the enemy of weight loss for women.
    A new study shows women actually appear to burn less calories when stressed.

    July 15th, 2014 1:45 pm Reply
  • Sheryl

    Thank you for this important information.

    July 13th, 2014 11:59 pm Reply
  • Dina-Marie

    Sarah, I use a fitbit while working in the vineyard mainly b/c of the watch on it. It is small and I clip it to my waistband plus, it does encourage me when I see the steps I have taken throughout the day – they really add up. For me it is not about weightloss but movements as you said. You have really given me something to think about – I had never thought about the wireless radiation! I will definitely be giving this some thought! But, as I scrolled down to thank you for your post, I could not help but notice a FitBit ad was on your Adsense right under the article – I know you don’t have control over that but it was just too funny not to mention!!!!

    July 11th, 2014 2:16 pm Reply
  • Lisa

    I have a fitbit and wear it daily; but not by choice. My company has a ‘wellness’ plan and the employees portion of the health insurance premium is determined by participation in the wellness program. If you wear a fitbit and upload the data to the health coach each day; each employee received a $50 monthly credit toward their insurance premium. Other factors such as BMI, cholesterol and exercise are all factored in and if you participate in all area’s of the wellness plan, you can end up paying NOTHING for health insurance; the company pays it all. So i’ve never paid much attention to the fitbit I wear it because it saves me $50 a month.

    July 9th, 2014 10:31 pm Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Wow. I find this shocking and invasive of privacy. How do you feel about it?

      July 10th, 2014 8:04 am Reply
    • Kat

      This is still by choice. You are choosing to get the $50 credit or not.

      July 10th, 2014 12:32 pm Reply
    • MG

      This is very interesting and for me is one of the most compelling pieces of evidence that FitBit works! The company has decided that it saves money by buying each employee a FitBit AND paying for that employee’s health care outright. This tells me that the exercise people are getting, due in large part to FitBit, is worth more $$$ than their financial outlay. All that money savings plus better health to boot!

      I have a friend who uses a FitBit to help track his sleep, among other things. I think that the majority of people who are shocked to find out how little activity they get during the day would be dismayed to find out what little good sleep they get at night :-(

      Another thing that differentiates the FitBit from a manual pedometer is the altimeter that can track you doing flights of stairs or hill climbs.

      I don’t have one. Probably won’t get one. But I’m not sure I’m more scared of it than the cell phone in my pocket.

      August 20th, 2014 9:04 pm Reply
  • Nancy

    I have owned a Fitbit Force for a few months and it has made me much more conscious of how little movement I was getting with a desk job and two hour daily commute. So seeing my steps has helped me decide to be much more active, a positive. My phone allows me to turn Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off, even though the basic phone connection is still active, so I don’t know how much difference that makes.

    I thought it was interesting, in an article about the dangers of EMF exposure, that Sarah recommended downloading an app to check radiation exposure. (Won’t downloading and using the app exposure you to more radiation??) But I agree it’s an important issue to be aware of, and I just might return my Force and go to a manual pedometer as a result!

    July 9th, 2014 9:05 pm Reply
  • Amanda

    Thank you for this article! I’ve used a FitBit intermittently for the past couple of years (I have an older model), and while seeing my step count increase is motivating, I find obsessing over the numbers very easy to do. As you said, this is far from the destressing experience exercise should be! I also have been concerned about the EMF exposure. I have been thinking about buying a new model to replace my aging one, but you just helped me decide to save my money.

    July 9th, 2014 4:14 pm Reply
  • Daisy

    Very nice post. Thank you!
    Obviously the Wi-fi radiation is affecting not only the person who is wearing this device, but also anyone who is close to them. I was wondering if you would have an advice on how to ask somebody to turn their device off, if they ave to sit /stand close to you.
    And on the same note – how do I ask my neighbor to turn their wifi down, or shut it off at night? Their signal is stronger in my bedroom then any on my own devices. And I turn mine off at night. I don’t know these people, and have no idea how to explain my convenes and what can be done in this situation.

    July 9th, 2014 3:26 pm Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      This is a very tough question as the mainstream public still doesn’t really recognize the potential and very real health risks from EMF overexposure. I believe there are devices that clear EMF waves from a certain area.

      July 9th, 2014 3:34 pm Reply
    • Of Goats and Greens

      Daisy, it might not be easy. I use my Kindle when I drop off to sleep, for a few minutes — having just that one sort of light source rather than a whole light to read a physical book or magazine helps me go into sleep faster these days. AND I am one of those (not really so unusual) people who awaken at one or two in the morning, partially for the bathroom, and just because it’s a cycle. Again, surfing around to places like this site helps me fall back to sleep.

      I don’t use a Fitbit or any other device, although I’d like to try one for a week, just to get an idea of my patterns. (It’s the same theory I have for tracking food… do it briefly to know your parameters, then just stop and work with what you’ve learned.)

      But with Fitbits, I find the theory rather invasive of privacy, even if the data they collect is aggregated.

      Probably I should worry about EMF’s, but right now there are enough other concerns.

      July 12th, 2014 7:18 am Reply
    • J.Ro

      Yes, I know, late in the game. But here’s some information for you. I’ve never seen a router available through retail that allows one to basically dial down the signal strength like you seem to be describing; without specialized equipment, it’s pretty much all (on) or nothing (off).

      There are two half-ways and one true way to “clear” a router signal from an area. You can create a signal that cancels out their signal (think noise-canceling headphones), but that’s not really removing the waves from the area, rather adding more — hence the 1/2. Water is also said to block all but the lowest RF frequencies; a layer of water one foot thick surrounding your house might do the job.

      The only way to truly block the signal is RF shielding, essentially turning your house, or at least your bedroom, into one large Faraday cage. Aluminum foil doesn’t work as well as Hollywood would have you believe, but copper does. Copper foil would block a lot but thin copper sheet is probably adequate for standard wi-fi signal. But we all know how pricey copper is getting these days (supposedly there’s a special kind of “paint” that does the same, but reports are mixed). Send a line from your shielding to the ground and any signal hitting your house is neutralized.

      Of course, there are two important things involved. There can be no gaps in coverage, which means no windows or vents and very carefully shielded doors. It also blocks any other signals going in or out (no cellphone calls).

      Considering the relative weakness of wi-fi signals, It’s not worth it to me. Seems like there are bigger risks that are much more manageable to focus my attention on.

      November 24th, 2014 2:37 pm Reply
    • Heather

      You can buy a bed canopy that blocks EMF waves. They are expensive, but that might be your best bet since there is little else you can do.

      December 9th, 2015 12:50 pm Reply
  • Juanita

    I wear a FitBit Flex and keep it on during sleep. Mainly because I forgot and eventually lost other pedometers I have used in the past. Pedometers help me stay motivated to be active and exercise. They also make it fun to compete with friends that have similar devices. Interesting points about the EMF radiation. I’ve been concerned about it from all of my home’s electronic devices and the power lines that flank the outdoor running trail I use. Weighing the pros and cons and considering I’m likely already swimming in EMF radiation, in the city in my high-rise condo, I’ll keep my Flex for now until exercise is naturally a more integrated and effortless part of my life and my butt’s a little smaller :).

    July 9th, 2014 2:24 pm Reply
  • Sue

    If we really want to keep it simple – use a manual odometer (powered by a battery) and keep moving until you reach 10,000 steps. I don’t recall why 10,000 steps is the desired goal yet that is the figure I’ve seen in articles. Even if it’s not accurate to the nth degree – it’s one less radiation source to contend with.

    July 9th, 2014 2:13 pm Reply
  • April

    I use the Omron pedometer which is the most accurate pedometer out there hands down! It is ran off of a battery. I love it! I am a huge believer in 10000 steps plus for health, not killing yourself but getting in extra steps like parking further away, etc.. A sedentary lifestyle has almost killed me so YES again I do believe this is saving my life!

    July 9th, 2014 1:25 pm Reply
  • Celeste

    I have to point out a glaring inaccuracy in this post. Fitbits do not transmit data via wifi (the scale is different) but the activity trackers do not use wifi. They use bluetooth. While there may be dangers from this, there are different kinds of bluetooth transmitters that have different amounts of power. Additionally, you can decide if you even want to activate the bluetooth in activity trackers, it is not necessarily enabled by default. they way you write about this seems like a scare tactic rather than actually providing factual information so people can make their own decisions.

    July 9th, 2014 1:09 pm Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      The definition of bluetooth is “a standard for the short-range wireless interconnection of cellular phones, computers, and other electronic devices.” Wireless is Wi-Fi.

      July 9th, 2014 1:13 pm Reply
      • Lisa

        Correct – devices are either wired or wireless, those that are wireless, including ‘blutooth’ are Wi-Fi – there was no ‘glaring inaccuracy’ in the post. Fitbit data is synced via Wi-Fi

        July 9th, 2014 10:34 pm Reply
        • Alex

          I like your articles regarding food Sarah, so please don’t think I’m trying to be hostile!

          Wireless isn’t Wi-Fi.

          Wi-fi is wireless, but it is just of many wireless standards, including FM radio and Bluetooth.

          The bluetooth wireless standard uses much much less energy than the Wi-Fi wireless standard, hence it’s lower range and slower.

          June 18th, 2015 6:50 am Reply
    • Holly

      I would love to know Celeste which ones allow you to turn off the bluetooth. Please share. I did some research before buying mine because I wanted to be able to do turn it off. I couldn’t find one. I use a Fitbit and none of them enable you to turn them off.

      July 9th, 2014 1:28 pm Reply
      • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

        Bluetooth radiation has been even less studied than cell phone radiation. Just because bluetooth wireless is a shorter distance than other wireless technologies doesn’t make it any more safe. http://emfblues.com/bluetooth-radiation/

        July 10th, 2014 9:34 pm Reply
    • Ted

      Well I would mention that it may be a bit of a scare tactic approach to a technology that’s fairly new. As is expected with any product introduced into the market. One has to due the leg work to find what’s safe and what’s not. So far as I’m concerned, I’ve scoured the internet about the Fitbit Blaze (Which is fairly new) and have yet to find anyone that has an issue with this product. What I did find was many people seemed to attribute the prior FitBit products to possible pre-existing issues. At least that’s what I gleaned from some of the past posts. Well In reality? I don’t buy it. Pragmatist here.

      May 21st, 2016 2:36 pm Reply
  • Sharron

    I have just begun to use a FitBit this week. I have tried joining clubs, using a calendar, and DVDs for different types of exercise. My house is small, it doesn’t take many steps to complete daily tasks. I live in a climate that experiences wind and rain for about six months out of the year. I have seven children. Daily exercise has not been a relaxing, stress reducing activity. It has become virtually non-existent.I have become a slug! I need a way to have some accountability, or even to compete against myself. I can look at my fitbit and see that my daily household duties have garnered me only 3K steps for the entire day. A trip to the grocery store might get me over 5k, but barely. My house is small, we have three smart phones, a couple of 3ds handheld gaming systems, and one laptop. There is so much radiation around my house, that a FitBit isn’t going to make that much difference. I have also chosen not to sleep with it on, I don’t shower with it, either. That seems extreme in my opinion. Being able to track my movement is motivational for me, personally. I hope I don’t always need it, that I will build a lifestyle change after a period of time. For now, though, the risks of wearing a fitbit outweigh the risks of continuing to gain weight and live a sedentary life style.

    July 9th, 2014 11:42 am Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Actually, the closer you are to a wireless device, the more negative the effects. Even a foot or two makes a difference. The effects of wireless radiation drop off dramatically within just a yard. Best to not wear one on your person, especially while you sleep and keep your wireless router on the opposite side of the house to the bedrooms if you don’t turn it off at night. Also keep all wireless devices out of the bedroom.

      July 9th, 2014 11:49 am Reply
  • Julie in WA

    Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond has been spewing accolades about her FitBit; why, just this morning, after reading her latest post about this exercise device, I was convinced to start researching purchase options for myself. What a dramatic effect your article has had on me! I had no idea that such a little tool carries potential threats to my health. I won’t be shopping after all. Thank you for a timely post!

    July 9th, 2014 11:41 am Reply
  • Holly

    Thanks so much for this article Sarah. I love your blog BTW. The article confirms what I felt was the main negative to a fitbit ~ constant exposure to EMF radiation. However I do use one. And purchased it having this concern, but could find no real info about it.

    I made the decision not to wear it during sleep although I have the fitbit one that will monitor sleep. I also try not to wear it in the same spot everyday…maybe not super effective for overall exposure but at least one spot isn’t getting all the juice.

    I don’t intend on using it forever. Just until I get the extra 30lbs off I have gained in my 40’s since having my only child, while instilling better eating and workout habits that I had lost. We do follow the Weston A Price traditional food style of cooking in our home. But eat out too much and some bad habits have been creeping back in. Before my son I had 20 yrs of great work out habits (as well as even teaching an exercise class). But since having him and moving to a new area of town plus trying to run my own business, I just haven’t been able to get into a routine and was eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted (still mostly raw dairy, pastured meats, good fats etc…). 8 yrs and 37lbs later the fitbit has broken the cycle. And I must say it is working. Using it and the app has made me given me the push I needed by making me more aware of food going in and staying active. (BTW I tried just using the app without the fitbit 3 yrs ago, and it didn’t work for me). I have now lost 12 lbs without really feeling any sacrifice or deprivation. I still eat lots of good fats (animal fats, coconut oil). And I am still walking mostly as I was prior to the fitbit, but have increased the frequency moderately as well as searching out more movement in general in my day. I guess what I am saying is there haven’t been any drastic changes other than minor tweaking of my food intake and amount of movement. The fitbit works to make me more aware and I am getting results. So for 9 months or so I am wearing it knowing the EMF exposure isn’t good. I do try and limit EMF in other ways in my life however. Hoping this makes a difference.

    Wouldn’t it be fabulous if the fitbit device’s bluetooth signal could be turned off manually? Then we could control when it syncs with our other devices. I am hopeful the makers of the fitbit do this in a future product.

    BTW ~ before I bought it I did some research. One fitness blogger compared Fitbit, Nike and a manual pedometer. She said she was skeptical that the bluetooth devices were worth it. However her conclusion was that the digital/bluetooth devices were worth the extra $50 over a good manual pedometer because they were way more accurate as well as more motivating because of the tools used with them (apps and social networking).

    Some of us just need a little push (or a big one) to get there. When I was in good shape and in a great workout habit I would never have thought this device was needed for all the reasons you cite above.

    Thanks for all you do!

    July 9th, 2014 11:39 am Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Good point. I’m not surprised the manual pedometers are not as accurate. Each person will have to make the judgment call whether the EMF exposure is worth pinpoint accuracy.

      July 9th, 2014 11:56 am Reply
    • Ted

      I have a new FitBit Blaze. Excellent device. I wear it loosely on my left wrist. No effects as to EMF or any other issues. However I remove the device before sleep. I used to work in telecom. Routers, Servers, etc. Talk about EMF? Yep. That’s dangerous. As far as I know? This particular issue has not been addressed by OSHA. On the other hand, my vascular surgeon asked me years ago if I held my cell phone to my ear while chatting. Knowing before hand the dangers of such use I responded no. I use the speaker mode. As with any electrical or wireless device such will emit radiation (Radio frequency RF) to an extent. But most people aren’t aware that the body has radiation in it already. Most people are also unaware as to what devices in the home emit RF. From your flat screen to ones computer. Microwaves…the list goes on. To be totally safe from such? One would have to travel almost 4,000 feet below the earths surface and still you’d have radiation to an extent. The human body while in the sun or not absorbs radiation all the time. We’d be dead if not for that. I have yet to meet anyone who has had troubles with the new Fitbit Blaze. However? I will be very diligent as to any information regarding this device. I like it. It’s an attractive device and it works very well if one is into exercising. I ride my composite bike 18 miles every other day. Don’t smoke nor eat garbage. At the ripe age of 65 I’m in great health (knock wood). weight a healthy 165# and still chase the ladies.

      May 21st, 2016 2:28 pm Reply

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