Do weight-loss apps really work?

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** FILE ** A large man walks about the grounds of the Maple Festival in Chardon, Ohio, April 17, 2004. Over a 20-year period, the percentage of Americans who said they find overweight people less attractive steadily dropped from 55 percent to 24 percent, according to the market research firm NPD Group. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

obesity2Short answer: probably not.

A recent study in the journal Obesity examined whether people who used a weight-loss application on their cell phone for two years lost more weight than those who didn’t. Researchers divided 365 participants, ages 18 to 35, into three groups: one that used a weight-loss app, one that had a personal coach, plus the weight-loss app and a control group that had neither.app

The smartphone app used included goal setting, challenge games and social support through a “buddy system.” Those with a personal coach used the app as a self-monitoring tool — tracking weight, dietary intake and physical activity.

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Researchers found that the first two groups didn’t experience any significant weight loss compared with their control group counterparts.

Finding a reliable way to help people change their behaviors and lose weight is critical in the ongoing battle against obesity in America.

Roughly 35 percent of young adults (age 18-35) are obese. And weight gain in early adulthood is linked to developing cardiovascular disease and other health problems as people age.

 


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