A team of experts, including Professor Mark Kelson of the University of Exeter, has conducted a study to determine whether digital health programs are equally beneficial for users of all socioeconomic backgrounds, finding that they are not.
Specifically, since these programs are significantly less beneficial for users with a low socioeconomic level .
The gap increases
For the study, the researchers examined more than 14,000 studies, published over a 30-year period, selecting 19 randomized controlled trials that evaluated the effectiveness of digital technology, such as mobile apps, websites, and wearable health technology such as smart watches, etc. .
They found that while people with a higher socioeconomic status showed significant long-term benefits from using such technology, those with a lower socioeconomic status showed no discernible benefit at all .
Furthermore, the team suggests that instead of providing a healthy lifestyle that is easy and available to all, the apps could in fact be exacerbating health inequalities .
The team suggests that future providers of digital health interventions targeting physical activity and other behaviors should take into account the needs of users with lower socioeconomic status to ensure that they do not inadvertently widen socioeconomic inequalities.