Written by Rose Prissel, a Mayo Clinic registered dietitian
Monitoring tools, such as online or app-based tools, smart watches and fitness trackers, can help maintain your weight and keep your activity goals on track. Using these devices along with an on-site, face-to-face weight loss program may have a synergistic effect on behavior change.
Users have noted availability, flexibility, ease of use, cost and time-effectiveness as benefits of using mobile health applications. The tips below can help you find the best application for your unique needs.
Apps and devices are tools to supplement what you do offline. Therefore, it is important to identify what you need to do to achieve your weight loss goals. Ask yourself the following questions:
Once you have identified your goals, check out several apps before committing to one to determine which one provides the data and features to support your goals.
Currently little quality control or regulations exist to ensure health apps are accurate in content, evidence-based or effective. This makes it important to ensure you do your research. This includes:
- Checking the data privacy statement for the device and associate apps.
- Reviewing the app’s description, features, functionality, usability, user ratings and reviews.
- Determining if the developers consulted health professionals for the development of the app. This will improve the probability of accurate content such as the use of nutritional databases from a reliable source.
- Verifying if the app or device clearly labels food items entered by other users.
Choose an app that uses one or more of the evidence-based strategies listed below. This increases the likelihood that it will effectively support you in making health changes.
Connect with others talking about health fitness apps in the Healthy Living support group.