Mobile weight loss apps don`t help users change lifestyles

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 12:14

Washington: A new study has suggested that mobile apps that help people lose weight are lacking when it comes to strategies for changing their behaviour.

University of Massachusetts Medical School behavioral psychologist and weight loss expert Sherry Pagoto, PhD, said that apps do include evidence-based behavioral strategies, but only a narrow range.

She said that strategies that often were missing are ones that help patients with adherence and motivation.

In the study, Pagoto and colleagues rated 30 of the most popular mobile weight-loss apps on the market for inclusion of 20 evidence-based behavioral strategies.

Most of the apps evaluated include few or no behavioral weight-loss strategies-28 out of 30 included only 25 percent of the strategies or less. Even the top two apps include only 65 percent of the 20 strategies.

The 20 strategies that the study rated are those in the Centers for Disease Control`s evidence-based Diabetes Prevention Plan, designed to help participants make modest behavior changes in order to lose 5 to 7 percent of their body weight.

Pagoto`s team was also interested in determining whether apps incorporate technology features to enhance behavioral strategies.

Enhancements include barcode scanners that can be used in a supermarket to instantly get products` nutritional information; social networks where users can encourage and support each other; email and text reminders; and calendars for scheduling exercise and tracking food intake.

The study has been published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.


First Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 12:14

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