One thing we can all agree on: Health care is becoming more impersonal and bureaucratic. The good news is that there are a growing number of options for taking control of your own health—whether maintaining it or managing a known medical condition. I use a small collection of devices and Web sites for both purposes.
I recently began wearing an Omron Pocket Pedometer (model HJ-720ITC). This is a simple and inexpensive device with some nice features. The unit distinguishes between the ordinary steps you take during the day and the "aerobic" steps you take when you go for a brisk walk. The unit also includes a USB port and PC software so you can upload your daily activity, not only in terms of ordinary vs. aerobic steps, but an hourly breakdown of steps taken.
The biggest benefit of a device like this is that it motivates you to do more walking. Now if only someone would come up with an easy way (preferably automated) to track calorie intake. The combination of a pedometer, bathroom weight scale, and calorie intake monitor—all with USB ports—would let you know the precise adjustments in food intake or steps needed to ensure that you burn as many or more calories per day as you take in. (I'm thinking of a kitchen scale that measures the calories—rather than weight—per plate, bowl or glass.)