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  • Beyond the Fitbit: Self-Monitoring As a Way of Life

    A recent article in The Washington Post examines how the trend in self-monitoring technologies has quickly moved beyond the Fitbit, and now includes the ability to document and analyze—and widely share, if you want to—an almost-scary range of daily activities.

    Welcome to your life, now more quantified than ever.

    Post reporter Ariana Eunjung Cha explores the influence of wearables as part of "a global movement among ordinary people to 'quantify' themselves using wearable fitness gadgets, medical equipment, headcams, traditional lab tests and homemade contraptions, all with the goal of finding ways to optimize their bodies and minds to live longer, healthier lives — and perhaps to discover some important truth about themselves and their purpose in life."

    The story acknowledges that "an increasing body of behavioral medical research has found that patients who track their diet, physical activity and weight achieve better results than those who don’t, suggesting that wearable monitors provide feedback that reinforces personal accountability."

    At the same time, Cha writes, "Some physicians, academics and ethicists criticize the utility of tracking as prime evidence of the narcissism of the technological age — and one that raises serious questions about the accuracy and privacy of the health data collected, who owns it and how it should be used."

    The story also touches on regulatory oversight of the devices, and when they are considered a medical device requiring approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

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