Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Evaluating mobile weight loss apps on use of evidence-based behavioral strategies

Date:
October 8, 2013
Source:
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Summary:
In a new study published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, UMass Medical School behavioral psychologist and weight loss expert Sherry Pagoto, Ph.D., and colleagues find that mobile apps to help people lose weight are lacking when it comes to strategies for changing behaviors.

In a new study published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, UMass Medical School behavioral psychologist and weight loss expert Sherry Pagoto, PhD, and colleagues find that mobile apps to help people lose weight are lacking when it comes to strategies for changing behaviors.

"Apps do include evidence-based behavioral strategies, but only a narrow range," said Dr. Pagoto, associate professor of medicine at UMass Medical School. "Strategies that often were missing are ones that help patients with adherence and motivation."

In the study "Evidence-based strategies in weight-loss mobile apps," published online Oct. 8, Pagoto and colleagues rated 30 of the most popular mobile weight-loss apps on the market for inclusion of 20 evidence-based behavioral strategies. Most of the apps evaluated include few or no behavioral weight-loss strategies -- 28 out of 30 included only 25 percent of the strategies or less. Even the top two apps include only 65 percent of the 20 strategies.

Behavioral weight-loss strategies that are evidence-based -- meaning they have been scientifically researched and found to be effective -- include stimulus willpower control, problem solving, stress reduction and relapse prevention. The 20 strategies that the study rated are those in the Centers for Disease Control's evidence-based Diabetes Prevention Plan, designed to help participants make modest behavior changes in order to lose 5 to 7 percent of their body weight. Pagoto's team was also interested in determining whether apps incorporate technology features to enhance behavioral strategies. "On the bright side, in terms of how apps are using technology, they're doing some really interesting things," Pagoto noted.

Enhancements include barcode scanners that can be used in a supermarket to instantly get products' nutritional information; social networks where users can encourage and support each other; email and text reminders; and calendars for scheduling exercise and tracking food intake.

The researchers' final question was "Do you get what you pay for?"

"The answer is no," said Pagoto. "Free apps were just as likely as paid apps to include evidence-based strategies. That's the good news for the consumer."

The two top-rated apps, according to the study, are MyNetDiary PRO ($3.99,) and MyNetDiary (free.)

"Where we're hoping the next generation of apps can do better is in incorporating some of those strategies that help the user who might not be so good about entering their diet every day and staying on track with their goals," Pagoto concluded.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Massachusetts Medical School. The original article was written by Bryan Goodchild and Sandra Gray. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Pagoto et Al. Evidence-based strategies in weight-loss mobile apps. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, October 2013

Cite This Page:

University of Massachusetts Medical School. "Evaluating mobile weight loss apps on use of evidence-based behavioral strategies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131008091715.htm>.
University of Massachusetts Medical School. (2013, October 8). Evaluating mobile weight loss apps on use of evidence-based behavioral strategies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131008091715.htm
University of Massachusetts Medical School. "Evaluating mobile weight loss apps on use of evidence-based behavioral strategies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131008091715.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

AFP (Aug. 21, 2014) Two American missionaries who were sickened with Ebola while working in Liberia and were treated with an experimental drug are doing better and have left the hospital, doctors say on August 21, 2014. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins