There are quite a few different weight-loss apps and add-ons available on the market, and many of them are available on smartphones. These tools are helping people regulate their behavior and boost weight loss.
The scientists published their findings in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine. These mobile apps can help boost weight loss, if they are used as part of a comprehensive strategy. Researchers at Northwestern University studied 70 overweight men, with the average age of 58. Some of the men were asked to log their eating and activity using pen and paper, while others were given a mobile app developed by the researchers and their behavior was monitored by a coach, providing short, telephone-based check-ins periodically. All of the participants were offered classes in nutrition and behavior change.
80% of the men using the mobile app attended the health education classes. They were able to lose 15 pounds and keep it off for a year. Group support offered by the classes could help explain the success.
The average weight loss among those who used the app, including those who didn’t attend the classes, was 8.6 pounds. The men who were offered classes but no mobile app didn’t lose any weight. Most people using mobile apps to track diet and exercise don’t have a professional coach minding their progress like people in the study, so it’s hard to say how effective the mobile app would have been if used alone. But the study does show the importance of tracking and group support for successful weight loss strategies.
Reference: “Integrating Technology Into Standard Weight Loss TreatmentA Randomized Controlled Trial” by Bonnie Spring, PhD; Jennifer M. Duncan, PsyD; E. Amy Janke, PhD; Andrea T. Kozak, PhD; H. Gene McFadden, BA; Andrew DeMott, BA; Alex Pictor, BA; Leonard H. Epstein, PhD; Juned Siddique, PhD; Christine A. Pellegrini, PhD; Joanna Buscemi, PhD and Donald Hedeker, PhD, 28 January 2013, Archives of Internal Medicine.