A Study Has Found Most Health Apps Don't Do Much - Here's How To Choose One That Does

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Most of us have probably downloaded an app or two in hopes it will help us live healthier lives – but experts say most of these aren’t doing much for us.

New research from Vic Health and Deakin University has found most apps don’t have the behavior change features to help us improve health and wellness.

Dr Fiona Mackay, senior lecturer in health and social development said the team looked hundreds of health apps to assess their effectiveness.

“We’ve looked at almost 400 health apps in heaps of different areas. We’ve looked at apps to help you stop smoking or reduce your drinking, apps that will help you to be more physically active or have a better diet.”

The team used proven features that are most likely to help you achieve your health goals.

Only two apps passed the test, scoring four out of five stars.

So what should you look for in an app?

Does the app allow you to set your own goal and can you go back and changes it?

Does it give you feedback?

“One thing we know, from people who are trying to get fitter, is they need to be able to monitor their behavior over time. So if your aim is to get 10,000 steps how did you go today, compared to yesterday?” Fiona added.

“The way that we rated them, is the more of the behavior change features in the app, the higher it rated.

“The best apps have a range of tools and a range of features that will help people achieve their goals.”

How does your app stack up? Find out on the Vic Health website.

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29 January 2019

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