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Questionable new fitness trackers and health apps


A quarter of Germans use health apps and fitness bracelets
Technical or electronic aids in sport are indispensable for many people these days. A recent survey now showed that around one in four German Internet users uses fitness trackers and health apps. Some experts are critical of this trend.

Fitness bracelets are very popular
Manufacturers of fitness wristbands usually promise their customers support for optimal training. The small devices record distances, times, calorie consumption and rest periods, among other things. However, it has only recently been shown that many fitness trackers usually do poorly in the test. According to some experts, such devices are not particularly useful. Because smartphones make fitness bands superfluous, because a lot of data can be saved anyway via the various applications. Nevertheless, the devices are very popular, as a recent survey shows.

Over a quarter of Germans use fitness trackers and the like
According to a survey by the market research company GfK, 28 percent of Internet users in Germany monitor and / or monitor their health and fitness with apps, fitness bracelets or smartwatches. Only internet users in China (45 percent), Brazil and the USA (29 percent each) used the appropriate devices for daily fitness and health checks even more.

Most users want to monitor health and fitness
According to a GfK press release, on average, a third of the 20,000 Internet users surveyed in 16 countries committed to regularly monitoring their condition or health with apps or fitness trackers. More than half (55 percent) stated that the most important reason for digitally monitoring health and fitness. The second most frequently cited by active users was the argument to motivate themselves to do sports.

A third of the respondents stated that they "wanted to improve their performance" or "motivated themselves to eat and drink healthily". 29 percent want to "sleep better" and a quarter want to "be more productive". Another 22 percent of the respondents cited the “fun factor” as the reason. Only 14 percent of the participants control their health or fitness because they are currently "training for a sporting event."

Very young and old people trust apps and trackers
It turned out that in this country - in addition to very young people - a surprising number of older people use digital aids. “A look at the age groups reveals that in Germany in particular the youngest (15 to 19 year olds) and the oldest Internet users (60 years and older) are currently actively monitoring their health and fitness with apps and trackers (31 and 30 percent, respectively) of respondents) ”, it says in the message.

"The study shows that controlling health and fitness is obviously not only interesting for young athletes, but for a wide range of age groups," said Jan Wassmann from GfK.

Critics point to a lack of data protection
The relevant apps and fitness bracelets are mostly viewed critically by data protection experts and health politicians. Among other things, data protection is often neglected. Only in the spring did the data protection officers of the federal and state governments warn against misuse of the recorded training data.

Because with it a detailed risk assessment can be carried out. This could lead to health insurance companies developing profiles of their insured persons and offering individual tariffs on this basis. That would run counter to the principle of solidarity. At the beginning of the year, the health insurance companies announced that they wanted to make greater use of the data on fitness wristbands.

Misinformation can lead to health-endangering behavior
In the meantime, some devices are even co-financed by health insurance companies. Last summer, for example, the AOK Health Insurance Fund was the first health insurance fund in Germany to announce that it would grant such a subsidy to its insured. This was followed shortly afterwards by Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), which announced that it would pay its members € 250 for an Apple Watch.

However, various experts, such as the health politician of the Greens, Maria Klein-Schmenk, have doubts about the reliability of trackers and apps. Since the inaccuracy when measuring pulse, movement and the like is very large, incorrect information could lead to health-endangering behavior of the users. (ad)

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