http://drbonnie360.com/post/17500592316/can-the-cool-factor-make-fitness-contagious-to-the

 

Attending the Digital Health Summit at CES made me think that consumer demand for health and wellness is starting to make fitness “cool” for those outside of the fit crowd, although getting large numbers of overweight and obese people moving still presents a daunting prospect.

In June 2011, the government issued a National Prevention Strategy: America’s Plan for Better Health and Wellness, without much mainstream fanfare,  despite the popularity of NBC’s  The Biggest Loser.

But when US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin during her keynote at the mHealth Summit announced a nationwide radio broadcast of “dance minutes” to encourage workers to exercise at work, the mHealth community started to take notice.

I had just written about social games catching on in the workplace with Keas and ViveCoach leading the way.  At the same time I was wondering if fitness could appeal to less-active tweens- hoping that Zamzee will be “cool” so that teen movement/fitness will catch on and help reduce obesity.

Yet, when I saw the huge UnitedHealth Group booth at CES that was filled with two Kinects to encourage exercise, a discussion by Dr. Bill Crounse of Microsoft on gaming and an assortment of health apps, it was apparent to me that consumer demand for health and wellness was now strong enough to be pulling a mainstream health business to fill this demand.

The fact that the Digital Health Summit at CES had grown from one to two days, also reflects growing consumer demand for digital health tools.

One of the reasons that I am enjoying being part of the digital health community is the range of issues that the new sector is addressing. Jill Gilbert did an outstanding job of assembling topics around a consumer theme ranging from, who’s paying the bill, addressing connectivity, data liberation, managing the aging population, creating a healthy kitchen, and the changing doctor-patient relationship.  For those of us new to CES, it was the perfect venue to give context to what we were seeing on the exhibit floor.  You can see the tweets from the conference and exhibition at #digitalhealth and#DHSummit.

Eric Topol’s discussion on Digitizing Man helped the audience to dream about the many future uses of digital health. Adding to this look at the not-so-distant future was the announcement by Life Technologies that the technology will be available tosequence the entire human genome for less than $1000 in about 8 hours.

Qualcomm’s Don Jones keynote gave a broader perspective for  the use of wireless technology in both the developed and the less-developed world and sparked our imaginations with Dr. Saxons’s work at the USC Body Computing Center as well as the  promise of a Tricorder X Prize.

The floor at CES included lots of gizmos and gadgets to further inspire us.  If the increased length of the Digital Health Summit or the size of the UnitedHealth Group  booth at CES or the number of fitness gizmos and gadgets is any indication of a trend, perhaps more consumers will be making fitness even “cooler”.