health care

Smartphone apps can help to achieve weight loss

Posted 3/11/13

PROVIDENCE – Smartphone mobile apps can help those trying to count calories, track exercise or monitor their weight loss progress, according to experts at The Miriam Hospital’s Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center.

“Mobile apps can play a significant role in helping people achieve their weight loss goals by not only simplifying the process, but also by holding you accountable,” says researcher J. Graham Thomas, whose work focuses on the use of technology for assessing and treating health behaviors, including healthy eating and physical activity.

“For example, mobile apps can automate such routine or tedious tasks like looking up calories. They’re also engaging, providing you with detailed and real-time feedback on your diet along with graphs that chart your weight loss progress,” Thomas continued. “Smart phone apps are also convenient and discreet, so you don’t need to carry around special materials like a food diary and calorie counting book.”

Thomas suggested looking for the following features:

  • Broad database of foods, including prepared foods and restaurant foods.

  • Simple user interface. Some apps have a lot of great features, but can feel intimidating at first.

  • Customizability, including the ability to set tailored goals or enter recipes.

  • Barcode scanner to make entering packaged foods easy.

  • Social media integration, including the ability to interact with other users on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

  • Ability to interface with other devices and apps, like Bluetooth scales and physical activity monitors and apps.

    Some of the more popular, successful and free weight loss apps to consider include MyFitnessPal, LoseIt! and Daily Burn, according to Thomas.

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