Jun 2016 11

weight loss - there's an app for that

By: Dave Wheeler

Want to lose weight? No  worries, there's an app for that.

We all know about fitbit, but it's by no means the only weight management app system available.

Try searching for the keywords "weight", "weight-management" or "calorie" on iTunes or Google Play. Researchers from the University of Glasgow and the University of Louvain in Belgium did just that. Here's what they found:

  • Google Play store had 2,196 apps for weight loss available.
  • Apple iTunes had 817.

82% of the apps available on Google Play were free; this was almost double the proportion of free apps on iTunes (43%).

From these 3,013 the researchers found that over 6½ million downloads had been made (666,169,136 in total).

The most popular apps, obviously, those with the most downloads were fitbitmy fitness pal, and noom weightloss coach.

We all know how much time kids spend on their phones, so the idea of using mobile apps to help youngsters, especially, management their weight & fitness seems like a great idea.

At the European Obesity Summit held in Gothenburg, Sweden on 2nd June 2016 a couple of weeks ago, the researchers noted that 40% of people under the age of 65 are affected by obesity.

However, they also noted that there was no research showing they were effective.

None of the apps (that's right, absolutely none) contained certified content-expertise.

Worse, people are using apps because they're handy, and moving away from well-tested and professionally-designed weight control materials online.

It's not just us Europeans who are beginning to wonder whether the obsession with apps is actually a good thing for health & fitness.

A study by US consulting firm Endevour Partners undertaken for the wearable technology industry spoke not only of the "frenzy" of uptake in wearable devices, but what it calls the "dirty secret" ⅓ of users no longer used their devices.

So not only is the advice  from apps given by non-experts, the devices & apps don't really engage. According to the US report, apps are a chore to use which is why there's such a high "fall off" rate.

If you want to achieve long term results, then to be honest you need to put your hand in your pocket - forget the free apps. Get yourself some sensible, certified advice -  a local nutrionist and/or personal trainer is going to do you much more good then trying to go it alone with tech.