Quit insulting those Canucks to the North — they’re probably in better shape than you.
A new study reveals that Canadians are the most inquisitive about health and fitness — surpassing Americans, Australians and Brits, plus six other nations evaluated. The Russians, by contrast, are the least engaged, at least when it comes to seeking out information online and through mobile apps.
Opera Mediaworks examined mobile advertising and consumer use of health and fitness sites and applications in a study released to coincide with the annual advertising industry awards show: Cannes Lions. This year’s festival, which starts June 15, will have a special focus on health.
The results were based on an analysis of a half-billion visits to more than 400 sites and applications focused on health and fitness, as well as surveys of more than 2,000 people.
Opera Mediaworks unearthed some troubling findings. For example, people in countries with the poorest access to medical care were the least likely to seek out health care information online. Those regions with the greatest number of doctors per capita were the most avid consumers of online health information.
“This points up this huge opportunity: Why aren’t there more people pushing those types of applications where getting to a doctor is very difficult,” said Larry Moores, Opera Mediaworks’ vice president of reporting and analytics.
People tend to seek out health and fitness information at different times of the day, consulting Men’s Health or RunKeeper in the afternoon or evening while seeking out health information (on WebMD, for instance) in the early afternoon.
The survey of smartphone users in the U.S. revealed that more than half use their mobile device to learn about diet, exercise or other health or wellness topics (though fewer than a quarter could be considered regular weekly users).
Health and fitness consumers are distinctly different — fitness buffs seek out entertainment and productivity apps when they’re not looking for information about exercise or weight control, while health consumers turn their attention to social media or news sites when they’re not investigating medical issues.
The fitness-conscious consumer tends to carry a smartphone most often while exercising (primarily to listen to music). Only a handful of people use fitness trackers such as a Jawbone Up, Fitbit or FuelBand — only about 3.6 percent of men and 1.7 percent of women.
Men aged 25 to 34 show the strongest affinity for accessing health and fitness applications on their mobile devices. Women in this age group are avid viewers of movies and TV shows.