As an internist and endocrinologist, I often advise my patients at the clinic to lead more active lifestyles. And every time I ask a patient if she exercises, the most common answer is, “I walk.” I often get asked how long should I walk? How brisk is brisk? Do I really need to do ten thousand steps? I realized I didn’t actually “know” what ten thousand steps meant. I once wore a pedometer and walked around the UP academic oval to find out. Ten thousand steps meant circling the oval FOUR times!
Last year, I began wearing a Fitbit to track my daily steps and for a while I also logged my calories on MyFitnessPal. I wanted to try it out first before recommending it to others. On most days, I walk a measly 5,000 steps or less. One day I was out shopping though and managed to log around 15,000 steps! As I tracked my food intake, I began to appreciate that what I thought were small portions I was having here and there translated to calories I didn’t need. I tried logging my water intake and realized I wasn’t drinking enough. Now I knew, but what next? In the Wall Street Journal, Dwoskin & Walker ask – “Can Data From Your Fitbit Transform Medicine?”
And then I wondered if money were not an obstacle, would patients be willing to wear a tracking device like a pedometer if I asked them to do so? More importantly, would I be willing to look over these tracking data during a consult? Recently, concerns have been raised about privacy as data from activity or sleep trackers often sync to online platforms. In the Washington Post, Andrea Peterson writes “Privacy advocates warn of ‘nightmare’ scenario as tech giants consider fitness tracking.”
This Saturday, 9 Aug 9 pm Manila time let’s talk about fitness tracking at #HealthXPH!
T1 If you could, would you wear a fitness tracker? Why or why not?
T2 Are you willing to share data from your fitness tracker with your healthcare provider? Why or why not?
T3 As a healthcare provider, are you willing to go over fitness tracker data with your patients?