Tracking diet, weight loss and exercise now takes center stage to assist individuals to reduce obesity in our society. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality describes a collaborative approach in tackling unhealthy weight and the need to apply creative solutions to assist individuals in their fight against obesity. The use of technical applications represents but one practical approach toward effectively assisting with weight problems.
What is Obesity?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines obesity as a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30 and an overweight person as possessing a BMI of 25 to 29.9. The BMI calculator at the CDC’s Body Mass Index website uses one’s height and weight to estimate the BMI figure. By knowing your BMI number, a person possesses the knowledge to set a goal for weight loss.
Why Lose Weight?
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, survey data shows approximately 34.2 percent of adults are overweight in the U.S. and 33.8 percent are obese. The Weight-Control Information Network explains the high risk of developing major health problems when one possesses excess body weight. The media highlights these health issues on an ongoing basis. Heart disease remains a major threat for overweight and obese people as it continues to be the leading cause of death in our country. Conditions such as diabetes, some cancers and liver disease appear as perils not far behind heart disease. Other obesity related conditions such as sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, gall bladder stones and pregnancy complications affect our quality of life.
New Focus for Obesity Treatment
Obesity exists as a multifaceted problem. Therefore, pursuing solutions from numerous avenues remains vital to assist people in reducing and maintaining weight within a healthy range. The use of iPhone-like technology brings an entire new focus to weight loss strategies. Applied Nursing Research reported on a research study using a personal digital assistant (PDA) to record food intake and exercise activity. From the entries into the PDA, the software generated tailored messages about how well the person progressed on diet and exercise. The group in the clinical trial using PDA feedback did significantly better with achieving their weight loss goals than a comparison group using hand-written diaries.
Review of SmartPhone Weight-Loss Apps
Live Science described a study in the Journal of Translational Behavioral Medicine that reviewed 204 weight loss apps available on the market. The study evaluated each app based on 13 weight-loss criteria from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The researchers rated SparkPeople, a free app, the top program. This app met 12 of the 13 criteria with only social networking not incorporated into the software. Since the study, SparkPeople added social media to the apps.
Technology continues to be a promising pathway for dealing with weight-loss, but research remains sparse on the use of this equipment. Ongoing clinical trials utilizing real time communication and new smartphone software hopes to integrate personal support into diet and exercise activities. Despite many smartphone apps appearing in the marketplace, the answer to the success of these applications to assist with weight loss remains with future research.