Weight Loss and Technology: Do Smartphone Apps Really Help?

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Calorie Tracking App Doesn’t Do All the Hard Work

You still need to put the effort in to lose weight. Image by quinn.anya

Apps can help, but you still need to put the effort in to lose weight. Image by quinn.anya

While technology is still getting better, it isn’t perfect. Technology doesn’t instantly make weight loss easy – just easier. According to Prof. Cade, the app simply made it possible for people to track the calories they ate and burned through exercise. There was no other guidance or help, which might make weight loss slightly easier.

When asked about the app in comparison to some of the fee-based apps, like Weight Watchers and Slimming World, Prof. Cade explained that this was the first trial of its kind and there is no data to compare it to. However, the amount of weight lost with the app study was on par with that lost through the fee-based weight loss programs available.

Having the Motivation

The trial showed that while those with the smartphone app were more successful – 93% of participants from that group saw the study to the end – there was still a problem with motivation. Only seven people within the smartphone group tracked everything they ate on a daily basis by the end of the six months. This number was higher than the diary and website groups, where none of the participants tracked on a daily basis after 6 months.

Weight Loss with Technology

Technology, especially smartphone apps, are becoming the norm for everyday life; smartphones are easily accessible and the apps are easy to use. The MMM app was very discreet, so people were more comfortable tracking while on the go, unlike those who would need to pull the diary out. Losing weight with a smartphone app isn’t the answer to all problems though – there are technological problems, and you still need motivation to track your weight loss on a daily basis.

Reference:

Carter, M.C et al, My Meal Mate Smartphone Application for Weight Loss: Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research.

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