Weight Loss Apps: Useful Or A Waste Of Time…& Money?
Food diaries, calorie trackers, fitness logs, you name it. We now have a number of weight loss apps right at our fingertips. Are these high-tech tools really a way to melt off the pounds or are they just a way to lose a bunch of cash? A new study reviewing app-effectiveness might surprise you.
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Researchers from the University of Massachusetts compared the top 30 most popular weight-loss apps (both free and paid) from iTunes and the Android Market to 20 behavior-based weight-loss strategies developed by the Centers for Disease Control’s Diabetes Prevention Plan. Strategies including portion control, problem solving to figure out why people over eat, and stress reduction have been scientifically proven effective by the CDC program—but 28 of the apps reviewed included only 25 percent or fewer of these tactics. Many of the apps did, however, feature food logging, which seems to be an effective tool in weight loss.
“Apps do include evidence-based behavioral strategies, but only a narrow range,” said Dr. Pagoto, associate professor of medicine at UMass Medical School. “Strategies that often were missing are ones that help patients with adherence and motivation.”