Technology can also help when we face a major change in our lifestyle. There are numerous smartphone applications dedicated to those who are looking for practical help when they start a slimming diet. These devices offer the possibility to easily and immediately monitor your diet, body weight and level of physical activity. However, are they really a help to those who are overweight? We talk about this topic with Martina Mura, dietician of Humanitas.
The world of mobile health
Apps that help us lose weight are able to do a lot of things: from sending personalized messages via sms or e-mail to remember and motivate the subject, remembering the goals set, or even commenting on the results obtained. Such a system can certainly help. Like all new products, however, after a few months it may not be enough if the user does not specify clear plans and especially if a doctor specializing in nutrition does not follow the patient.
Studies have shown that using apps constantly to reduce excess weight helps you achieve greater weight loss if you’re part of a clinical program to lose body weight, but the differences in results between app users and those who use more traditional techniques to achieve their goal don’t vary significantly. Therefore, so-called mobile health is potentially a great contribution, provided that the dedicated apps are rigorously designed and scientifically validated and that the subject who is to lose weight is always monitored by a nutrition specialist in their slimming programme.
“Electronic” health, based on all communication devices such as computers or satellites for sharing health information, is a booming area. Far from seeing it as yet another technological whim, scientists are treating it as a novelty with great potential that, even from the point of view of savings on healthcare spending, could allow interesting future scenarios to be developed.
According to recent estimates, more than half of adults own smartphones in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, and similar data are also found in Italy: a recent Censis report has shown that today’s smartphones are used regularly by 52.8% of Italians.
An app (even if developed well) can’t replace your doctor
“It is becoming widely understood that an app to be functional to a goal such as weight loss – concluded Mura – must be built rigorously and its application scientifically validated. It is important to underline that no technological device will ever be able to replace the figure of a specialist”.
According to a study conducted by the National Bioethics Committee, there are at least 100,000 applications in the “Health & Fitness” category available on the market today. This constantly growing category includes all applications designed to keep lifestyle, sporting activity and calories consumed under control.
The advice, for those who want to take care of their health, is therefore to turn to a specialist and secondly use an application chosen with criterion and awareness in the wide range of those offered by the market.