‘Health apps’ may hold out benefits for your well-being

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Published: August 14, 2015 8:00:49 PM

A new study has revealed that mobile technology may help improve health behaviour in people.

A new study has revealed that mobile technology may help improve health behaviour in people.

Lora E. Burke of the University of Pittsburgh said that the fact that mobile health technologies had not been fully studied did not mean that they were not effective.

He said that self-monitoring was one of the core strategies for changing cardiovascular health behaviors, adding that if a mobile health technology, such as a smartphone app for self-monitoring diet, weight or physical activity, was helping one improve their behavior, then people should stick with it.

The mHealth technologies examined in the statement correspond to the goals in the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7, which were eating better, being more active, managing your weight, avoiding tobacco smoke, reducing blood sugar, and controlling both cholesterol and blood pressure. Some of the statement findings were:

Managing Weight: When considering an mHealth weight loss program, healthcare practitioners should look for one that has many of the same elements as successful person-to-person individualised programs administered by healthcare professionals, which emphasise a calorie-controlled diet, physical activity, self-monitoring or recording food intake and physical activity in a paper or digital diary, personalised feedback and social support.

Physical activity: While the majority of studies show that using an online program boosted physical activity more than not using one, there hasn’t been enough research to show whether wearable physical activity monitoring devices actually help you move more.

Smoking cessation: Mobile phone apps using text messaging to help quit smoking can almost double your chances of quitting, but about 90 percent of people using these apps fail to quit smoking after six months.

Mobile health apps used in combination with a traditional quit-smoking program may help smokers kick the habit.

The study is published in the journal Circulation.

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