27 March 12 What Makes a Good Mobile Calorie Counter?

Researchers at Brigham Young University in Utah analyzed 127 popular health apps from iTunes (available in 2009) and rated them for the ability to get users to change their lifestyles. While the actual rankings are not yet disclosed, researchers did comment on some of the most common "mistakes" found in these apps and what elements make up a good one.

In all, there are more than 1,500 fitness/health apps in iTunes. Of course, MyNetDiary is one of the top-rated health apps in its category and has been selected as an "App Store Essential" for "Get In Shape."

Furthermore, one in 10 smart phone users have downloaded at least one of these apps, according to a 2011 Pew Research Center Internet survey.

So what doesn't work for a health app? The major offense, according to lead author, Sarah VanWagenen, is that most apps lack customization. "The majority don't ask for age, height, weight or any kind of basic health information," she says in a recent ABC News report. "You just sign up and they give you a program and some advice based on general recommendations." MyNetDiary calculates your caloric goals based on sex, height, weight, goals and physical activity levels.

Apps that promoted motivation, social networking, accountability and behavior tracking were rated high in the study, as these are the tried and true features of a behavior change program. MyNetDiary connects its member through social media and a Community Forum moderated by RD, Katherine Isacks.

The study criticized apps whose makers were gamers or social media developers because they were not rooted in science. MyNetDiary is built on following USDA dietary guidelines and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Our forum and blog is maintained by a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator.

In the end, we'll leave it up to our 2.8 million members to decide whether or not we are providing an effective and easy-to-use mobile calorie counter. What do you think?

Ryan Newhouse

Ryan Newhouse is the Marketing Director for MyNetDiary and writes for a variety of publications. He wants you to check out MyNetDiary on Instagram!

Have questions or comments about this post? Please feel free to comment on MyNetDiary's Community Forum or Facebook page – We would love to hear from you. And consider visiting our new Pinterest page!

Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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