Not Missing a Step: South Africans Taking Control of their Personal Wellbeing using Wearable Health Devices
Globally, the number of people living with chronic diseases is increasing, with unhealthy lifestyles as major contributing factor. Although the benefits of preventive healthcare is documented, majority of policy makers spend only a fraction of their health budgets on preventive healthcare. There is growing evidence that increasing physical activity contributes to improved personal wellbeing and reduce chances of developing chronic diseases. Consequently, awareness of the importance of good personal wellbeing is increasing. Heightened health-consciousness has also brought along growth in wearable health device market. This study investigated the role of wearable health devices in preventive healthcare and promotion of personal wellbeing. We employed the interpretive research paradigm to understand the role of wearable health devices in preventive healthcare and the promotion of personal wellbeing, from users’ perspectives. Data was collected through a one-on-one, semi-structured interviews with 30 participants who currently own and use a wearable health device and/or a mobile fitness-tracking application. Study results showed that the use of wearable health devices can motivate users to increase their physical activity and maintain healthy lifestyle, thus promoting personal wellbeing. The use of wearable health devices/mobile fitness-tracking applications play significant role in promoting personal wellbeing. Different kinds of rewards by health insurers also provide additional incentives for users to reach their monthly fitness goals. A shift towards primary preventive healthcare, where citizens are encouraged to increase their physical activity, can go a long way in reducing the high rate of chronic diseases.