It seems like everyone and their mother has a Fitbit, Jawbone, Garmin or some other brand of fitness band to wear around and look sporty while proclaiming to the world, “why yes, I do work out!” And while many of these devices do have nifty features that can really help people lose weight and just generally get in better shape, they do so with a not-insignificant price tag.
Consider a device like the Jawbone UP3. For $179.99, you too can know what rate your heart beats at every minute. Seems a little excessive, no? And realize that this is only for the tracker itself. In order to get the most out of it (or, really, anything at all), you need a computer, tablet, or smartphone to be able to sync the device to. Each and any of these would run you at least the price of the device you’re buying.
In the case of the new Fitbit Charge HR, people have been known to put up preorder payments (including heavily marked up prices to third-party sellers), just for the right to wait to get their device. This, yet again, is a luxury poor people cannot afford, since that money being locked up would mean less spendable income in the present for bills, food, transportation, etc.
The embarrassing thing about all of this (as a society) is that obesity and poor health is very much skewed toward the lower socioeconomic classes. Thus, the Fitbit and others represent the ultimate in status symbols: they broadcast that not only are you in shape, but you can afford to spend big money on being so. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that wearing one of these bands is itself becoming a fashion statement (much like the significantly cheaper Livestrong bands of years past). Even if you’re not jetting from spin class to yoga to barre on a daily basis, just wearing this band allows you to feel like you’re among that group. It’s like the woman who eats Ramen noodles but splurges on Louboutins.
The world will always be one of haves and have-nots. It just seems like now, the haves have yet another tool at their disposal to help them have it all.
Photo Credit: US CPSC on Flickr