One in four adult internet users track their own health data online

This is one of the findings in the amazing Susannah Fox‘s recent report for Pew Internet, part of the Pew Research Center.

The report is called The Social Life of Health Information, and has several interesting findings. Here is an excerpt:

Carol Torgan, a health science strategist, points out that anyone who makes note of their blood pressure, weight, or menstrual cycle could be categorized as a “self-tracker.”10 Add an online component, and you have the ingredients for a social health application or an electronic health record. Our survey finds that 15% of internet users have tracked their weight, diet, or exercise routine online. In addition, 17% of internet users have tracked any other health indicators or symptoms online.  Fully 27% of adult internet users say yes to either question.

Wireless users are more likely than other internet users to track health data online. Eighteen percent of wireless users have tracked their weight, diet, or exercise routine online, compared with 9% of internet users who do not have a wireless-enabled laptop or other device. Nineteen percent of wireless users have tracked any other health indicators or symptoms online, compared with 11% of non-wireless internet users.

Separately, looking just at the 85% of adults who own a cell phone, 9% say they have software applications or “apps” on their phones that help them track or manage their health.

 

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4 Responses to One in four adult internet users track their own health data online

  1. Pingback: Breitband - Leben nach Zahlen

  2. Pingback: One in four adult internet users track their own health data online | Quantified Self | Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care | Scoop.it

  3. Alex,
    Thanks for highlighting Susannah’s outstanding report. It’s so great to finally see the number of quantters get quantified! Given your expertise, what do you think of the numbers? I think they might actually under-estimate the number of self-trackers, because I think a lot of folks self-track, but don’t label themselves such. I see huge online communities of trackers that may be flying under the radar. For example, start typing “weight loss…” into the YouTube search engine and take note of the autocomplete suggestions! (before and after, transformation, journey….)

  4. Alexandra Carmichael says:

    Thanks Carol! I think one key word is “online” – sure, a lot of people weigh themselves and count calories, but actually doing it online, especially with mobile apps, is fairly new. Also, I wonder if the study factored in people’s reluctance to admit that they track their weight/diet/exercise. I don’t have enough information to be able to say whether it’s an under-estimate or not, but yes, it’s great to see this research being done!

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