health tracker on jeans

Health Tracking Comes Out Of The Closet

The Shine from MisFit attached to jeans

Can you spot the popular self-tracking device in this photo?

It’s not the sleek, quarter-sized Shine from Misfit Wearables. It’s the blue jeans.

An intriguing new report, Tracking for Health, from Susannah Fox and Maeve Duggan at Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project finds:

  • 7 in 10 U.S. adults report they track a health indicator (like weight, diet, exercise routine, or symptom) for themselves or for a loved one.
  • 6 in 10 adults say they track weight, diet, or exercise routine.

Of all these trackers:

  • 49% say they keep track of progress “in their heads.”
  • 34% say they track the data on paper, like in a notebook or journal
  • 21% say they use some form of technology to track their health data
    • 8% of trackers use a medical device, like a glucose meter
    • 7% use an app or other tool on their mobile phone or device
    • 5% use a spreadsheet
    • 1% use a website or other online tool

As the authors astutely note:

“This makes some sense since all someone might need to track their weight is a scale — or even a pair of jeans that only fit if someone is at their target weight. This finding is, however, a challenge to technology developers who would like to convince people to upgrade their habits. In order to capture this segment of the market they must strive to create a tool that is as seamless as keeping track in your head.”

Indeed, the importance of a seamless experience is backed up by data from a national survey on jeans conducted by The Consumer Reports National Research Center in 2010:

  • 62% of women use their jeans as a measure of whether they need to lose weight
  • 50% of women are holding onto a pair of their “skinny jeans” in hopes of squeezing into them again

Makers of tracking gadgets would do well to pay attention to how women describe their jeans.

According to the Consumer Reports survey,

  • When asked about jeans, a majority of women agree: “We’d live in them if we could!”
  • 85% of women typically wear jeans at least once a week, though more than half said they’d wear jeans every day if they could get away with it.
  • Women spend just $34 for a pair of jeans, on average
  • 54% of women generally like the way they look in jeans, 40% admit they feel sexy in their jeans but 8% dislike or hate the way they look.

Have you spent more than $34 for a tracking gadget, and does that gadget make you feel sexy?

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