The convenience of weight-loss apps has captured the minds of many folks trying to shed some pounds. But, is this form of tech support truly aiding weight-loss? A recent study may surprise you.
Some popular apps such as Livestrong and FitBit offer hope for diet and fitness success and provide great tools such as calorie counts for foods as well as occasional support reminders to get active. Research from the American Journal of Medicine, however, discovered that digital tools may not be as effective as old-school diet and exercise programs.
The research team compared the top 30 weight-loss apps on iTunes and the Android Market with 20 behavior-based strategies like stress reduction and portion control. In other words, they researched the effectiveness of 30 apps Vs. 20 behavior-based techniques. 93% of the apps included just 5 or fewer lifestyle-based strategies, which do not translate into effective weight-loss for the apps because behavioral methods, such as those provided in Your Eating Solution, have been shown to be effective in scientific study.
The major shortcoming with apps is that they do not include features that help users stay with a program long-term. Without long-term strategies, the lifestyle changes do not become permanent real-life changes that are essential to real success with diet and exercise.
At the same time, I still like the apps as a supportive tool for health programs and recommend that clients use them in conjunction with other aspects of their health program. Apps are convenient and do incorporate some proven weight-loss strategies, most notably food journaling, which ensures accountability and enhances diet awareness that is important for making progress towards weight loss goals.