Forty percent of Americans, ages 18 or older, have used a wearable device for tracking their health, exercise activity or sports performance, and among those who now own a so-called “wearable,” more than half (51%) say they use it at least once daily and 70% say they use it daily or weekly, according to a new national study of Americans’ habits and attitudes concerning, exercise, weight and diet.
The most common use for trackers is counting steps taken (39%), calories burned (36%), heartbeat (31%), distance (28%) and sleep quality (25%). But more than three quarters of users and non-users would find it valuable if a wearable device could automatically measure the calories they consume. They would also value devices that automatically measure hydration level (82%) and stress level (80%).
The online study, conducted by Researchscape International on behalf of Healbe, surveyed 1,041 consumers, ages 18 and older, between November 6 and 9, 2017. Consumers were quota-sampled using 32 different cells (gender by age by region) to closely match the overall national population. Healbe is the manufacturer of the GoBe 2, the first wearable that automatically measures calorie intake, hydration levels and emotional state non-invasively through users’ skin.
The likelihood of having used a fitness tracking device increased with education level from a low of 19% for those without a high school diploma to a median of 40% of those with associate’s degrees and up to 76% of those with doctorates.
Active people concerned about health, weight and well-being want to be able to monitor their status and progress. Having technology that can automatically monitor, measure and report on multiple health factors makes it easy to do so and significantly easier to recognize bad habits and integrate healthier habits into a daily routine. Fitness coaches and nutritionists can also track how their recommendations are implemented, tailor their programs in real time and achieve their clients’ goals more efficiently.
When users of wearables were asked which aspects they liked most about using their device, ease of use of the product’s mobile app was the most frequently named choice, at 45%, outdoing both brand reputation and device design, both with 37%, and price, at 35%. Respondents were permitted to select more than one choice in answering.
Most survey respondents (53%) identified themselves as being overweight including 7% who classified themselves as obese. Only 5% said they were underweight. While just over a third of respondents (36%) said they were currently dieting, those who said they were overweight or obese were two to three times as likely to be currently dieting, usually at the recommendation of a doctor. Whether dieting or not, respondents understood dieting as a process of monitoring and reducing caloric intake, either by avoiding specific foods (typically fats or carbohydrates) or by adjusting portion size.
Other significant findings from the survey included six in ten adults stating they exercise at least once a week, including 26% who exercise two or three times weekly. Among adults who exercise more than once monthly, 45% said they do so to maintain general health and weight, while the same percentage said they do so to lose weight. By a wide margin, more than 20%, walking was named as the most popular form of exercise, and among the top ten most popular forms mentioned – gym cardio and cycling were second and third, respectively – no team sports made the list.