Abstract


Background: It is estimated that two-thirds of adults in America are considered to be overweight or obese. Obesity has an associated risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and certain cancers. On the internet, using the search terms of "weight loss", "diabetes", and "obesity", each of the first two terms are searched six times more than "obesity", suggesting that there is wide-spead interest in diabetes and weight loss. As such, one would expect weight loss apps to appeal to diabetic patients who may want to lose weight. view more

Background: It is estimated that two-thirds of adults in America are considered to be overweight or obese. Obesity has an associated risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and certain cancers. On the internet, using the search terms of "weight loss", "diabetes", and "obesity", each of the first two terms are searched six times more than "obesity", suggesting that there is wide-spead interest in diabetes and weight loss. As such, one would expect weight loss apps to appeal to diabetic patients who may want to lose weight. This study examines the current smartphone apps and diabetes outreach.

Purpose: Assessment of popular weight loss apps with respect to the national guidelines of Diabetes Self Management Education/Support Task Force.

Methods: Using Google search engines, we searched “ top weight loss apps”, yielding 5.8 million results. There were ten results on the first page; we looked into the most popular apps listed under the first four websites, www.healthline.com, www.gottabemobile.com, www.shape.com, and www.prevention.com. We collated their rankings, yielding ten apps that were common to the four websites. Then, the resultant ten apps were analyzed for popularity using Google Trends and Android analytics. Inclusion criteria: free apps, over 100,000 downloads.

Results: The 10 apps are: 1. Lose It (A), 2. Pact (B), 3. My Fitness Pal (C), 4. Fooducate (D), 5. Nike+Training Club (E), 6. Runkeeper (F), 7. 7 Minute Workout (G), 8. Google Fit (H), 9. Endomondo (I), and 10. Diet Point (J).
According to 2016 Android App Downloads- C has 50 million downloads; G, H, I, F: 10 million downloads; A, E: 5 million downloads; D, J: one million downloads; B: 100,000 downloads.
According to 2016 Google Trends, the rankings are: 1. A 2. B 3. C 4. H 5. F 6. D 7. I 8. E 9. J 10. G.
For the 10 apps, according to DSME/S guidelines: 6/10 ask for weight: A, C, D, F, H, J; 2/10 ask for BMI: D, J; 5/10 ask for height: A, C, D, F, J; 4/10 provide exercise suggestions: E, G, H, I; 5/10 provide target weights: A, C, D, F, H; 1/10 ask for Cholesterol: D; 4/10 have social media features: F, G, H, J; and 3/10 have reward points: B, C, E. None of the apps ask for smoking history, bulimia, anorexia, hypertension, cardiovascular signs, symptoms, and psychosocial determinants.

Conclusions: Based on our evaluation, the apps focus on weight loss but do not necessarily educate or provide goal setting according to the guidelines of DSME/S. However, with the shared interest of diabetes and weight loss among internet users, we expect future weight loss apps to incorporate diabetes education.

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