Do you use your phone to help keep track of your health? You wouldn't be alone.
According to the Pew Internet & American Life project, 15 percent of adults with cell phones use health applications on their devices. Meanwhile 17 percent of cell phone users look up health information while on the go. And while that might seem unimpressive at first glance, it is actually quite significant: in order to access most health information via mobile -- and certainly health-themed applications -- one needs a smartphone. And about 46 percent of American cell phone users have one of those. In other words, there’s an argument to be made that nearly a third of those who are able to access health information on their phones do so.
But are we talking about the sporadic symptom check on WebMD or something larger? About 27 percent of Internet users have tracked their weight and diet and fitness behaviors online. And with hundreds of apps devoted to helping customers meet their weight loss and fitness goals, there is clearly a market for mobile nutrition and fitness information as well.
There's also growing evidence that keeping track of weight loss, diet and fitness goals on an electronic device may benefit those who are trying to lose weight, especially if they are clinically overweight or obese. According to new research, presented at last week’s American Heart Association meeting, obese and overweight patients who used an electronic logging system that provided feedback and that was tailored to their needs, were more likely to stick to a five-point plan that was associated with sustained and successful weight loss. Compared to control groups that used a paper log or an electronic log without feedback, the participants who used an interactive electronic system were more able to maintain regular attendance at group sessions, meet daily calorie goals, meet daily fat goals; achieve weekly exercise goals; and keep track of their eating and exercise patterns. Over time, all three groups regained some of their lost weight, but the group with the interactive electronic logs regained the smallest amount.
Given those results, what are some of the best apps for weight loss? Below, our picks for noteworthy mobile nutrition and fitness helpers -- both the tried and true, like Lose It! and newcomers to the scene, like Fitbit: