Survey Says, One in Four Americans Use Digital Technologies for Tracking Health Goals

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About one in four Americans are using digital devices and online resources to stay healthy, with most users looking to be more active and to lose weight, according to a new consumer survey on digital health. Among these users, the majority say technology helped them meet their weight and activity goals.

The Digital Health Consumer Adoption report, published by Rock Health, is the third annual report by the consumer health organization.  The report is based on data on about 4,000 adults, representative of the U.S. population.

Adopting and maintaining healthy habits is an important part of daily routine for protection against cancer. AICR research shows that regular physical activity, eating a diet packed with a variety of plant foods, and being a healthy weight are all important factors that reduce the risk of the most common cancers.


Looking to lose weight, eat healthier and be more active? Our interactive online program can help. Join AICR’S New American Plate Challenge here.

Using latest available data from 2017, the Rock Health survey found that close to 90 percent of American adults used at least one digital online health tool, an increase from 80 percent in 2015. A digital health tool is taken as any wearable device that tracks your activity, including looking up physician reviews and use of health information online, and using phone to track your steps or diet.

Most people use technology to find accurate and reliable online information on health. Almost eight out of ten people went online for health information last year. For the past two years, close to a quarter of people used their cell phone to track their health habits and/or used wearables.

Among those with obesity – a condition that increases the risk of many cancers – over half of the respondents used a digital app to track their activity. Far fewer used an app to help them with their weight and diet. The percentage for the two groups was 20 percent and 29 percent respectively.

The report notes that chronically ill seniors represent the greatest possibility as a group that could use tools to improve health—yet they are the least likely to use digital health tools, with extremely low rates of live video telemedicine use, digital health goal tracking, and wearable use.

AICR has many evidence-based digital health tools to help you learn about cancer protection and improve your health. You can use our new interactive Cancer Health Check to learn more about how your choices can affect your cancer risk.

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    Author: Mya Nelson

    Mya R. Nelson is at American Institute for Cancer Research, where she writes about the research in the field.

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