More Americans tracking their personal health data
More Americans are getting in the driver’s seat when it comes to their personal health, according to a recently released survey. The study, from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, shows 69 percent of adults are using everything from pen and paper, to websites and mobile apps to stay on top of what’s happening with their chronic health conditions.
Pew researchers found that 40 percent of U.S. adults with at least one chronic condition tracked some sort of personal health indicator, while 62 percent of people with two or more conditions kept track. About 19 percent of adults with no chronic conditions are following their health indicators, too, according to the survey.
Among the health areas most watched are diet, weight and exercise routines. But people are also monitoring other healthy indicators, such as sleep patterns, blood pressure and headaches.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 45 percent of U.S. adults have at least one chronic condition. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic say diabetes and high blood pressure are two conditions that can be more effectively managed if tracked.
A majority of health trackers in the Pew study said crunching their own personal health numbers gave them a sense of personal control over health. It also changed their overall approach to maintaining their health. In fact, 40 percent said it led them to ask their doctors new questions or in some cases get a second opinion.
Experts say there are real benefits to this trend. All the tools and services popping up will continue to push Americans toward prevention and ultimately healthier lifestyles.
As one community organizer for QuantifiedSelf.com, an international meetup group for people who love to track their personal data, put it, “ As technology improves and rates of chronic disease continue to grow, no doubt the numbers of highly engaged trackers will, too.”
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