Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

The gender divide when it comes to health tracking online

From the 15 April 2012 article by Susannah Fox at KevinMD.com

Stephen Wolfram’s essay, The Personal Analytics of My Life, begins, “One day I’m sure everyone will routinely collect all sorts of data about themselves.”

A Pew Internet survey suggests we have a long way to go: a September 2010 survey found that 27% of internet users age 18+ track their own health data online. There may be more self-tracking happening offline — please post any measures of that phenomenon in the comments….

I did a quick search for more insights on this Mars/Venus divide and found Matthew Cornell’s post on the Quantified Self blog, Is There a Self-Experimentation Gender Gap? His rough analysis of QS comments, videos, and in-person meetings found a clear difference in participation: about 80% men, 20% women.

Christine McCaull echoed Schulte’s complaint in her comment:

… I’m just too damn busy to measure almost anything regularly except my bank balance, which is calculated for me. Like most women, I’m on a triple shift life plan. I work, I write, I keep a house and raise a big family…

And yet proponents of self-tracking in health need everyone to engage in it and see its worth, not just people with the leisure (or the extreme motivation of a life-changing diagnosis) to do so.

I went back to our data to see if there is a gender divide when it comes to health tracking online. Yes, there is: women are more likely than men to do it.

Breaking it down into the two categories we asked about, we find that 18% of women track their weight, diet, or exercise routine, compared with 13% of men. Twenty-one percent of women track some other health indicators online, compared with 12% of men…

 

April 16, 2012 - Posted by | Consumer Health | , , ,

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