While looking at sleep gadgets which took me to devices that did all sorts of things not just sleep, I stumbled upon PAI - Personal Activity Intelligence.
In the articles for Renegades, I have included studies that said doing steps alone does not help someone lose weight, that someone dieting who is also doing steps helps them lose weight (as does dieting alone). Even doing 20,000 steps does not help, though it will help someone not gain weight (by keeping them more active).
HOWEVER, if someone is behind on steps and jumps on the treadmill/elliptical to kick out some exercise for 30 minutes to get their steps goal, then using steps to encourage exercise will help someone lose weight (e.g they are getting their exercise done).
I also have included articles that it is the intensity that makes a difference to lose weight faster. Casual walking is very different than speed walking, which is different than jogging or sprinting/walking in an HIIT pattern (the last one being most effective for losing weight).
PAI is designed to reflect how effective your exercise has been - e.g. intensity as well as time spent. It is focused on keeping your heart healthy, but you have to do a certain level of intensity (eg just casual walking will not give you a good score). PAI was developed based on the HUNT Study, here is least technical write up I found on it (that didn't advertise a product) www.sciencedirec
Bottom line - The main finding of the current study is that having a score of ≥100 PAI per week attenuates the negative association between prolonged SB (sedentary behavior) and CV-RF (cardio vascular risk factor) clustering in apparently healthy participants from the general population. In other words having a PAI number greater than 100 ensures you are being active enough to have a health heart (and good news, even at 50 you are better than lower numbers).
Amazingly, I only found one company that included PAI scores on it's devices - that was the amazfit devices. They have a wide range of devices and most but not all include PAI, prices also have a wide range including many pretty affordable.
Depending on the device, they can also include a lot of other ways to measure your health including HRV (heart rate variability), VO2 Max, etc.
I have my eye on one coming out soon (it has been available in China since June/July, but it not yet available outside of China), the Amazfit Acer - which tracks lots of good measurements of health as well as PAI.
Note: There is at least one app that will calculate PAI for you from your fitness device (if your fitness device doesn't do PAI itself). www.paihealth.co
The ap on my iPhone shows that it will take information from the apple watch, fitbit, amazfit/zepp, garmin, and polar. I don't know if it covers all devices from those companies or just some.
If you use PAI or have a device that shows it on the device itself (other than the Amazfit), I would love to hear about your experiences.
P.S. Doing more investigating, many new devices are switching to not just counting steps but counting how many minutes your heart rate is elevated into different zones. Sometimes even giving you more points for being in a higher heart rate zone (e.g. double points for those minutes). This also helps show your effort (how hard you are working vs just that you are moving but not working hard). I don't know how PAI is calculated to say how that compares to the formulas some wearables are using for activity minutes, but both encourage people to put in more effort, which will be better to help lose weight/stay fit.