How Good Are Weight Management Apps?

More than 68 percent of Americans are obese or overweight. Weight-loss programs have been a dismal failure, with 95 percent of people regaining lost weight within a year. Motivation is key to long-term weight control. Smartphone apps are remarkably effective for promoting exercise adherence in running, walking and cycling, but little is known about the quality of weight-loss apps. Marco Bardus from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, and colleagues, assessed 23 popular apps based on their effectiveness for promoting goal setting, self-monitoring and feedback, and on information quality and functionality. They concluded that most apps do not provide evidence-based content and have mediocre quality. Their top-rated app was My Diet Coach Pro, which received high marks for functionality, aesthetics, engagement and information quality. In general, the apps were unlikely to affect behavioral changes leading to long-term weight control. (International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition And Physical Activity 13:35, 2016

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