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Diet plans go high tech

The Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale -- big data is a big trend in health care technology.

Our technology correspondent, Queena Kim, sent us an audio postcard from the Consumer Electronics Show last week. And now she's back to talk about some of the health care-related devices she saw there.

"It's a huge emerging market. At CES, they had this huge exhibit hall filled with them -- gadgets for almost everything -- how you sleep, how many steps you take, there's even a gadget to tell you whether your mole is cancerous," says Kim.

While at CES, Kim took a tour with Nick Martin, head of innovation and research at the insurance company United Healthcare. One of the problems United Healthcare is tackling is obesity.

"Obesity is an absolute epidemic throughout the country. It's contributing to diabetes. If you can lose 7 percent of your body weight, if you are pre-diabetic, you can prevent diabetes from occuring. Wireless scales and activity monitors can really help you reach that goal," says Martin.

While at the Fitbit booth, Martin pointed out one of the scales -- the Fitbit Aria wireless scale, which costs $129.  

"What's special about this scale is it's Wi-Fi enabled. That means that this device is connected to individuals' Wi-Fi network at home and then you can engage in challenges," says Martin. "So if I had a challenge with you -- maybe to lose 5lbs, we could get on that scale every single day and that data would go into our challenges system."

Another interesting health-care device Martin pointed out was a wireless blood glucose meter by Telcare, which costs about $100.

Kim says data is the big thing in health care technology right here.

"It seems that all the techies think if they give you more and more data about your health -- how you sleep, how many steps you take, what your blood pressure is -- that you will be able to track this data, make some sense of it, and make yourself healthier," says Kim.

About the author

Queena Kim covers technology for Marketplace. She lives in the Bay Area.

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