In the study, the researchers analyzed 204 apps for weight loss available in iTunes store in 2009. Of course, since then a lot more applications has emerged, but the study can provide useful information on what to look for when choosing a weight loss app.
All the applications were rated based on 13 criteria, established by major health organizations such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and US Department of Agriculture for weight-loss programs.
According to these criteria, the good app would:
- encourage physical activity
- healthy eating of fruits and vegetables
- drinking water over juices and soda
- feature food diary
- find balance between calories consumed and calories burned
- encourage moderate weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week
- focus on portion control
- watch over the nutrition labels
- provide weight and activity tracking
- include a meal planner
- include social-support component
The best app was diet tracker SparkPeople, which had 12 of the 13 components of the right weight loss program. At the time the study evaluated the apps, SparkPeople lacked social components, but later it added links to social-networking sites.
If you want to lose weight with the help of an app, specialists recommend checking out the user rating, which often coincides with science-based standards.
Nowadays there is a great variety of smartphone apps that help you shed those extra pounds easier. Here are the most popular fitness and weight loss apps:
SparkPeople is an iPad application that tracks your food and calories, having over one million foods in its database. You can choose daily meal plans, view the calories consumed and burned on the home screen, track you fitness and view the results in graphs and weight and calories reports.
Lose it! is an app that allows you to create a daily calorie budget and monitor your food and physical activity. You can view your progress in easy-to-read graphs and set weight loss goals.
Calorie Counter is an Android application that keeps track of your food, exercise and weight that goes in sync with FatSecret.com. It features barcode scanner for nutrition labesl, food quick pick to read calorie and nutrition information, food diary to track your eating habits, an exercise diary for counting calories burned, weight chart and journal.
MyFitnessPal is an iPhone and Android app that helps you set your daily calorie goals, record your food and physical activity. It works together with MyFitnessPal.com account, where you can log you food and exercises. The database includes over million foods and restaurant items.
Food Scanner was developed by DailyBurn.com and uses iPhone camera to scan barcodes or food name on food items. This allows you to see the nutrition facts, find the recipies and track your calories.
RunKeeper is a free smartphone app for running, cycling and other types of physical activities. it allows you to track your workouts, connecting you with your friends. It features activity tracking, personal dashboard, maps integration, activity sharing on Twitter and Facebook, audio cues and many others.