Two-thirds of Canadians are tracking their health and well-being using either a mobile app or smart device, according to new research by Canada Health Infoway.

The study, which surveyed more than 4,000 Canadians, found that among those who do use technology to track their health and well-being, 59 per cent are employed and 41 per cent are young adults. “So we’re seeing high use among the working population,” says Chad Leaver, director of applied research at the non-profit organization.

“But also there’s impact with respect to their understanding of their health status and that their health status is improved when they’re using an app and even more so if they’re using a connected device.”

Read: Can points-powered apps help employers boost wellness programs?

While the study doesn’t explicitly look at the use of mobile apps and smart devices in workplace wellness programs, Leaver notes anecdotally that a number of organizations are offering wellness challenges to their employees. “What our study shows is you’ll probably have a lot of workers with connected devices,” he says. “It’s time to leverage those in those programs, integrate them with sharing.”

Indeed, among Canadians who use mobile apps or devices to monitor their health and well-being, 61 per cent share the data with family members and 50 per cent do so with their friends, according to the survey. “That would be, I suspect, also true for the workplace setting, sharing it in a workplace challenge,” says Leaver.

Some Canadians are also sharing the data with health professionals, including doctors (34 per cent), nutritionists (10 per cent), pharmacists (nine per cent), personal trainers (nine per cent), nurses (seven per cent) and therapists (four per cent).

And while 66 per cent of all respondents are tracking one or more aspect of their health and well-being using either a mobile app or smart device, the majority (64 per cent) are monitoring their regular physical activity, followed by nutrition and eating habits (41 per cent), weight-related information (36 per cent) and sleep (36 per cent).

Read: 56% of employers use mobile technology to support employee health: survey

On the other hand, fewer Canadians monitor their use of medication (nine per cent), diabetes and other metabolism-related conditions (six per cent) and dental health (four per cent).

Breaking down the results by region, Alberta has the highest rate (40 per cent) of adults using mobile apps to monitor aspects of their health and well-being, according to the survey. Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia are closer to the national average of 32 per cent, with 33 per cent of adults tracking their health that way.

The survey also found 74 per cent of Canadian adults had heard of smart connected devices for tracking certain aspects of health and well-being, but just one in four (24 per cent) actually own one for that purpose. The most popular device is a bracelet or a watch. Among those who do have smart devices to monitor health and well-being, 88 per cent have a bracelet or watch.

Read: Are wearables the cure for rising health costs?

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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