15 November 2012 What Does a Calorie Counter Look Like?

Ever wonder what a devoted calorie tracker looks like? Not literally, mind you. But what mindset must one have to track calories and exercise day in and day out to lose weight and get more healthy? Today we'll take a "sneak peek" at what makes a person take charge of their health and record their actions.

First, some background. It's estimated that 85% of all U.S. adults own a cell phone. What would happen if all of them realize that a smartphone could be a real useful tool for their health? What if your doctor, instead of treating you for an ailment, helped you get engaged with your health to prevent ailments in the first place? This would lead to many more people who, according to this report, would be classified as an "e-patient". The "e" stands for engaged.

This idea that engagement lies at the root of health is an important one, and one central to defining what a devoted calorie tracker looks like.

From a health survey by the Pew Internet Project and California HealthCare Foundation, researchers discovered that 60% of American adults track their weight, diet or exercise, defining them as a "self-tracker." One-third track health indicators or symptoms (like high blood pressure or sleep patterns), and one-third of caregivers track health indicators for their loved ones. Altogether that's 7 out of 10 adults acting as a "self-tracker."

However, half of these "self-trackers" only track in their heads. They don't write it down or log it online or via a mobile device.

Furthermore:

  • One-third of self-trackers use a notebook or journal.
  • One-fifth of self-trackers use an app, a device, a spreadsheet, or a website.
  • Half track on a regular basis
  • The other half track when something changes, when something comes up and triggers the need to track.
  • To add to this, only half of "self-trackers" don't share their info with anyone else, making themselves accountable to no one else, though many reports show the value of being part of a greater community helps people lose weight.

To dive deeper, even though someone tracks, it may not affect their health. According to the Pew Internet/California survey, only 46% of trackers say that the information they gather actually changed their approach to health. That's a lot of information going by the wayside.

Ultimately, this leaves us all with a great question: now that we know what a calorie tracker looks like, "What kind of calorie tracker do I want to be?" It seems like there is plenty of room to make the most of the information you gather. So while we all may be good at tracking, are we really doing our best at it?

Ryan Newhouse

Ryan Newhouse is the Marketing Director for MyNetDiary and writes for a variety of publications. He wants you to check out MyNetDiary on Instagram!

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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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