Weight loss? There's an application for that - and it works
After six months in the trial, people in the PDA group had lost an average of almost 10 pounds (4.5 kg) and 41 percent of them had met the goal of losing at least five percent of their initial body weight. Those in the comparison groups had dropped just over two pounds (1 kg) each, on average, an 11 percent had achieved the weight loss goal. At the one-year mark, six months after the mobile devices were taken away, people who'd used the PDAs had managed to keep off most of the weight they initially lost, said lead researcher Bonnie Spring, from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. The benefits of using an app on a mobile device, Rao said, are that it can be cheaper and widely available, and can help re-engage people who are having trouble, unlike an in-person program with a specific end date.
Although PDAs have mostly fallen out of fashion, the researchers said smart phones can serve the same purpose as the devices used in the study. Spring said most weight-loss apps on the market haven't been scientifically tested but may still help people lose weight.
Still, Rao warned, there's evidence that apps alone don't have much of an impact - and it may be more helpful to think of the technology as an aid to help from a doctor or nutritionist.
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