People in the West are living increasingly sedentary and unhealthy lifestyles. A recent American study entitled ‘Trends in Mean Waist Circumference and Abdominal Obesity Among US Adults, 1999-2012’ points to the rather alarming fact that American adults are now tipping the scales even further toward obesity. According to the study the waist circumference of the average American adult was a very overweight 37.6inches in 1999, but has now swollen to a gut busting 38.8 waist inches in 2012. This means that on average American women are now classed as obese and men are just behind (the waist line for an official obese male is 40.2 inches).
A matter of life or death…
So this isn’t just an issue of general health and fitness, this is essentially a matter of life and death. What is needed to reverse this trend then is something revolutionary. And as many have tried celebrity diets, crash dieting and wonder pills but failed to get healthier, then we look to technology for an answer. Well it just be that Apple may spark that revolution.
The beginning of a health revolution
Apple are making a series of fun and interesting changes with their iOS 8 update, which includes better predictive text, voice clip messaging (think voicemail meets text message) and a neater keyboard. Another really interesting inclusion is the Health app. With this app Apple are suggesting that the new Health app may be “the beginning of a health revolution” and it’s possible they could be right.
The Health app essentially collects vital statistics such as weight, height, blood sugar and cholesterol providing real time indicators of your state of health. It is designed to work alongside a new developer’s tool called HealthKit which allows for a huge scope for integrating future health and fitness apps. The potential of the Health app grows when it is combined with the soon to be released Apple Watch which will track movement throughout the day, workouts, calories burned, movement etc. and allows the wearer to set fitness goals.
A collection of your vital medical details
The new Health app will act as a collection point for your medical data too. This can include vital emergency information such as life threatening allergies, the medication you are taking and emergency contact details. Nutrition information can guide the user as to what types of food they should be eating and how much they should be eating, for your normal calorie burn. It will provide blood pressure and cholesterol information from your doctor and advice from them to keep healthy. And it will also act as a record for vaccinations and jabs you have had.
A healthier future
The potential of this app could be far reaching. Picture a future where users can become more mindful of their health and fitness. Be more aware of the food they eat and the exercise to keep them healthy. This could in turn lead to a happier, healthier population who are relying less on the already strained NHS resources.
It is not unimaginable to expect some type of tie in with the NHS at some future point, perhaps allowing for doctors to review patients remotely, or be alerted of dangerous lifestyle activity and warn users early on. Forward thinking pharmacy companies such as Oxford Online are already embracing this future potential, by understanding ways in which prescription and non-prescription medicines can be integrated into the app, keeping a detailed record of medicines taken and allowing for easy repeat prescriptions. This will drive down costs for the user and for the NHS. Of course Apple will have to fix their rather embarrassing security issues before this can be a reality!
Based on the fact that Apple products have changed our society so markedly in the last 15 years I think there is a very good chance that the Health apps could play a big role in making us a happier and healthier nation. What are your thoughts? Please leave your comments below…