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Is Wearable Fitness Tech Primed To Spark A Big Change In Healthcare? [News]

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Image: BusinessWeek

Out with the diamond bracelet and designer watch — in with the latest wearable fitness tech. Five years ago that might have sounded crazy, but now it’s a reality.

According to a recent IDC report, wearable computer device sales will jump from an estimated 19 million in 2014 to about 111.9 million in 2018, a compound annual growth rate of 58.2%.1 Common wearable tech devices are called “complex accessories,” and include gadgets that can work independently, but also function when paired with a smartphone, computer, or tablet.

Examples include the (recently killed) Nike+ FuelBand, Jawbone Up, Fitbit, BASIS, and Samsung GALAXY Gear. You may have even heard of the rumored iWatch that Apple has been speculating for some time now. From counting calories burned and steps taken, to monitoring sleep cycles and heart rate, these devices are a fitness junkie’s dream.

But it isn’t just workout enthusiasts that are using these fitness wearables. A five-year study done by The Vitality Group of more than 300,000 participants showed that 63% of those who monitored their health via smartphone or tech wearable were overweight or obese.2 Hospital costs decreased by 6% for individuals going from inactive to active, and fell 16% for individuals who continuously remained active throughout those five years compared to those who were not.3


Health At Your Fingertips

Moving more has major perks, and these devices might be one way to make that happen. While there is no way to speculate whether or not insurance companies will start paying for these gadgets, it’s possible. We do know that the healthcare industry will continue to continuously change, and if wearables can display that they’re a cost-effective way to slash healthcare spending and promote activity — in particularly for the obese population — it makes a ton of practical sense.

Just look at Google Glass, which was used along with additional technology to help the surgical team at University of Alabama-Birmingham see multiple sets of hands, and points of view (at once), in the operating room. These fitness wearables could create an overall continuing education of health and wellness for individuals.

“I think healthcare is moving in the direction that wearables will really pay and have a significant impact in changing the way people think about their health and the way they pay to be insured.” — Chris Steel, PA Consulting Group’s Information Technology Consulting

Julie Fine

Content Specialist at Lean It Up
Julie Fine is an AFAA-CGF, Beachbody INSANITY Coach, former chunky gal, 110% pure fitness junkie and an SEC-lovin' sorority girl at the University of Missouri.

When she isn't spending her extra time as a campus tour guide (Go Tigers!), she's probably scrounging around the aisles of Barnes & Noble or doing some impulse online shopping.
Follow Lean It UP on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for real-time fitness/nutrition tips, advice, info and updates.


References, Notes, Links

  1. IDC — Worldwide Wearable Computing Forecast and Analysis []
  2. Insights From Vitality — Wearables at Work []
  3. Insights From Vitality — Wearables at Work []