A survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project has found that seven out of 10 US adults track health indicators but only a fifth of that group use some kind of technology, such as a device, to do it.
The remaining trackers following their progress “in their heads” (49 percent) or note down the data in a notebook or journal (34 percent). Those using technology, such as a website, app or mobile device, make up 21 percent of self-trackers. Respondents could have more than one answer, hence the total exceeded 100 percent.
Among trackers, the most popular data to follow was weight, diet or exercise routine (60 percent), followed by indicators such as blood pressure, blood sugar, headaches or sleep patterns (33 per cent). Meanwhile 12 percent track the health of a family member or friend.
Pew claims this is the first national survey measuring health data tracking.
Clearly, the survey points to a large, untapped market for mobile health, yet also highlights entrenched behaviour — such as writing oneself notes — that might prove resistant to change.
It’s also worth noting that the survey found that older Americans are more likely to track data such as weight, diet and exercise than younger people, a fact that mobile health providers should bear in mind.