Dallas-based consulting firm Parks Associates split the burgeoning digital health consumer market into four distinct segments in a recent survey.

The survey, which contacted 2,500 heads of household in broadband-enabled American homes, reported that among all U.S. broadband households, 26 percent are healthy and engaged, 25 percent are challenged but mindful, 28 percent are unhealthy and in denial, and 21 percent are young and indifferent.

The survey also revealed that interest in technology does not influence usage of digital health products and services. The consumer segment "young and indifferent" report the highest interest in new technologies, but they have the lowest concern for their health. Only 28 percent looked up health information online in the last 12 months.

“Health consciousness, defined as active effort to maintain good health, is the key predictor of consumer demand," Harry Wang, the company's director of health and mobile product research, said. "Device manufacturers, industry players, and service providers looking to engage consumers in healthcare solutions cannot simply replicate tactics and strategies used for other types of consumer engagement devices. They need to design their strategies to raise health consciousness among consumers by emphasizing ease of use and the potential health benefits that come with adoption and usage of their particular solutions.”

The company's digital health consumer segments include:

Healthy and Engaged - Health conscious, don't have chronic health problem
* Offer the greatest market potential for digital health products and services.
* Regularly exercise and eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
* Have higher incomes, on average.

Challenged but Mindful - Health conscious, have chronic health problem
* Offer the second-greatest market potential for digital health products and services.
* Regularly exercise and eat fresh fruits and vegetables but have a chronic health condition.
* Older consumer segment; unlikely to have children in the home.

Unhealthy and In Denial - Not health conscious, have chronic health problem
* Offer the third-greatest market potential for digital health products and services.
* Lower income levels, on average; disproportionately likely to live in the Midwest and South.
* Do not habitually exercise or eat fresh fruits and vegetables; have a chronic health condition.

Young and Indifferent - Not health conscious, don't have chronic health problem
* Lowest market potential for digital health products and services.
* Youngest segment; low income levels; least likely to be married.
* Express the most enthusiasm for technology products and services.
* Healthy but do not habitually exercise or eat fresh fruits and vegetables.

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