Weight Loss Applications: To use? Or Not To Use?

By Jesse Crowley, Dietetics Student, Sargent Collegemichelle

Today, 91% of adult Americans own a cellphone and 56% of American adults have a smartphone. The general public is beginning to trust their smartphones with everything, from waking them up in the morning to managing their bank accounts. Should we now trust them with our healthcare?

A recent study conducted by a research group, including Sargent College’s own, Professor Michelle Debiasse, investigated the value of Apple and Android weight loss applications. The researchers compared the apps’ components with evidence-based practices used by professionals. These practices are tested and proven to affect weight loss.  The researchers came to two conclusions:

  1. Popular weight loss apps are not necessarily grounded in evidence-based practices
  2. Paid apps do not use more evidence-based practices than free apps

mynetdairyThey found that the two best apps, MyNetDiary and MyNetDiary PRO, utilized 65% of the practices; the next best apps dropped to 25% utilization. The popular apps, Lose It! and MyFitnessPal, only met 15% of the criteria. The apps were missing components that would aid users in real-life application, including ways to manage stress, relapses, and negative thinking. Both MyNetDiary and MyNetDiary PRO used the same number of evidence-based practices, but MyNetDiary PRO costs $3.99, while MyNetDiary is free.

Although these apps do not include all of the practices recommended by trained professionals, the use of technology as an extension of healthcare is an expanding and useful field. Primary care physicians are pressed for time with patients; if a doctor were to see an obese patient, they would have to address all of the medical complications that come with obesity, leaving them no time to address the complexity of weight loss. These apps can be helpful in weight loss, but as Professor Debiasse explained, counseling must be ongoing for long periods of time and sustained for on to see any results. The best way to achieve this type of care is to see a professional that specializes in this field, like the dietitians of the Sargent Choice Nutrition Center.

To learn more about the role a registered dietitian (RD) can play in your life refer to this earlier blog post: “What’s In a Title?

To read the entire research article: Evidence-Based Strategies in Weight-Loss Mobile Apps


Disclaimer: The Sargent Choice blog includes links to other websites only as information to consumers, not as medical advice. When you access an external website, keep in mind that Sargent Choice has no control over its content. Sargent Choice is not responsible for the content found at any of the sites, nor do any links imply endorsement or promotion of the company/organization, its content, services, therapeutic treatment options, or products. Accordingly, you visit any site at your own risk. Sargent Choice is also not responsible for the policies and practices of these sites, such as their Privacy Policy, use of “cookies”, etc. We encourage you to review the privacy policies of each site that you visit through a link on our website



Samt Jame posted on January 30, 2014 at 4:45 am

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