Health And Fitness Data Is Useless

Health And Fitness Data Is Useless

Data is hot right now. We generate tons of it, but most of it sits there, latent, unused and useless. This is particularly pronounced when it comes to health and fitness data, where we strap on our fitness trackers and expect the pounds to melt away with each step passively logged. But we haven’t seen a dramatic improvement in our nation’s health with the emergence of the “quantified self movement” and the pervasiveness of wearables. We still live in a country where two-thirds of us are overweight or obese and 80 percent of adults do not get the recommended amount of exercise . We forget that data alone is not the key to solving America’s health crisis. Knowing our step count or flights of stairs climbed won’t change our behavior . However, data with context — data that is proactive, timely and actionable — gives us the opportunity to design our environments for success and can help enable us to reach our health goals. Suckers for irrelevancy — squirrel! The human brain evolved to easily receive and parse information. We can walk through a forest filled with sights, sounds and smells and not get overwhelmed. We are primed to constantly and unconsciously decide what is important and relevant — what can I eat and what will eat me? — and discard the rest. In today’s world, we are presented with more stimuli than ever before. Our digital lifestyles mean that we are constantly bombarded by things screaming for our attention — figuring out what is relevant and important has become much more difficult. How can we focus on work or studying when there is Facebook to check, tweets to compose, puppy pictures to peruse and Netflix to watch? Microsoft came out with a study last year that found that […]