Health Apps, Fitness Trackers Popular Among Parents

The BabyCenter survey found that moms are willing to invest in new devices that give insight into their health and that of their children.

health it and fitness apps

Parents, and moms in particular, are ready to live the measured life using fitness and health trackers for themselves and their kids, according to the results of the BabyCenter U.S. Mobile Mom 2014 report.

The study found that 55 percent of moms surveyed say they can’t think of a reason not to track their health or their children's health, but the majority of moms find the current options on their smartphones too time consuming and therefore too difficult to use.

The survey also found that moms are willing to invest in new devices that give insight into their health and that of their children.

Of the moms surveyed, 19 percent already had a fitness tracker, up 36 percent from 2013, and a whopping 80 percent indicated interest in a device.

Moms also expressed interest in a number of new health and safety products and wearable technology.

"Moms, and parents in general, are unique in that they have more data to be concerned about than the average person," Julie Michaelson, vice president of sales at BabyCenter, told eWEEK. "Their data is not only related to themselves, but also to their children, their fertility and their pregnancies. They will curate images and bits of information for sharing on mainstream social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, but more in-depth information about their pregnancies, attempts to get pregnant or children's development is considered 'classified' by many moms."

Michaelson said this is the type of information moms share on more anonymous social media platforms like BabyCenter’s Community platform.

"In fact, once we experimented with connecting Facebook with our community - and we found that moms completely rejected that," she explained. "They wanted to keep the BabyCenter Community separate from Facebook, to maintain the anonymity and privacy they cherish there, when sharing with each other."

Seventy percent of moms were interested in a wearable baby monitor that tracks the baby’s movements and warns the parent if something is wrong, followed by an activity tracker for their child (67 percent), a fitness tracker integrated into clothing (64 percent) and Google Glass (46 percent).

"We believe that as health and wellness apps become more automated in their data collection that more moms and families will definitely start to use them. We also believe that the floodgates will be open when the apps focus on the positive," Michaelson said. "For example, we have heard of pregnant women casting aside their trackers because they were highlighting their inevitable weight gain during pregnancy. These apps need to understand the stage moms are in, adapt to it and give positive encouragement more appropriately."

Beyond fitness and health tracking, moms also demonstrated their reliance on their smartphones when shopping for over-the-counter medications.

Among moms who used their phone when shopping for over-the-counter medicines (14 percent), two out of three (63 percent) responded that they had researched an over-the-counter medicine on their phone, and 52 percent said they had read product reviews and recommendations.

Nearly one-third (29 percent) purchased over-the-counter medicinal products online, and 37 percent used their device to find a local drugstore or similar retail outlet.

Price comparison app use appears to be less popular when shopping for over-the-counter medicines, with 25 percent reporting they had used them to buy these products, with online mobile coupons higher at 30 percent.