In a new study published by the
"Apps do include evidence-based behavioral strategies, but only a narrow range," said Dr. Pagoto, associate professor of medicine at
In the study "Evidence-based strategies in weight-loss mobile apps," published online
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
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 (
"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.
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