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Most Americans regularly monitor their health

Posted On Wed, January 30, 2013

Perhaps because a person's health rarely remains in neutral, a considerable number of Americans keep track of various health indicators to assess how they are doing physically.

According to a new poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, nearly seven in 10 U.S. adults follow the health characteristics of themselves or others that they're close to. More specifically, the majority of respondents said that they kept tabs on their health by routinely measuring their weight, their diet and how much time they devoted to exercise.

While this was found among the general public, individuals were not more likely to monitor their health status - namely their weight, diet or exercise - if they already had a chronic condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

There were some disparities, however, when it came to how seriously U.S. adults kept an eye on their well-being. For example, Pew says that among individuals who had at least two persistent conditions, they were much more likely to keep tabs on their health by writing down whatever it is they found. They were also more apt to use medical devices for tracking purposes, such as a glucometer, which measures the level of sugar in a person's blood. Those who didn't have these chronic health conditions were more inclined to make note of these indicators in their heads, the poll found.

The poll also revealed that those who monitored their physical well-being reported that they made healthy changes as a result. Pew says that more than half - 56 percent - of so-called "trackers" who had two chronic health conditions changed their approach to how to deal with it, such as by seeking a second opinion from a doctor.

Insurance quotes work in a similar way. By checking multiple health insurance rates rather than one, policyholders can get a better idea of how much their premiums would be with different carriers depending on various factors, such as their age, weight and health status.

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