Mobile applications for obesity and weight management: current market characteristics

Nikolaou, C.K. and Lean, M.E.J. (2017) Mobile applications for obesity and weight management: current market characteristics. International Journal of Obesity, 41(1), pp. 200-202. (doi: 10.1038/ijo.2016.186) (PMID:27780974)

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Mobile-Health (mHealth) is the fastest-developing eHealth sector, with over 100 000 health applications (apps) currently available. Overweight/obesity is a problem of wide public concern that is potentially treatable/preventable through mHealth. This study describes the current weight-management app-market. Five app stores (Apple, Google, Amazon, Windows and Blackberry) in UK, US, Russia, Japan and Germany, Italy, France, China, Australia and Canada were searched for keywords: ‘weight’, ‘calorie’, ‘weight-loss’, ‘slimming’, ‘diet’, ‘dietitian’ and ‘overweight’ in January/February 2016 using App-Annie software. The 10 most downloaded apps in the lifetime of an app were recorded. Developers’ lists and the app descriptions were searched to identify any professional input with keywords ‘professional’, ‘dietitian’ and ‘nutritionist’. A total of 28 905 relevant apps were identified as follows: Apple iTunes=8559 (4634, 54% paid), Google Play=1762 (597, 33.9% paid), Amazon App=13569 (4821, 35.5% paid), Windows=2419 (819, 17% paid) and Blackberry=2596 (940, 36% paid). The 28 905 identified apps focused mainly on physical activity (34%), diet (31%), and recording/monitoring of exercise, calorie intake and body weight (23%). Only 17 apps (0.05%) were developed with identifiable professional input. Apps on weight management are widely available and very popular but currently lack professional content expertise. Encouraging app development based on evidence-based online approaches would assure content quality, allowing healthcare professionals to recommend their use.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Lean, Professor Michael and Nikolaou, Miss Charoula-Konsta
Authors: Nikolaou, C.K., and Lean, M.E.J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
Journal Name:International Journal of Obesity
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN (Online):1476-5497
Published Online:22 November 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature
First Published:First published in International Journal of Obesity 41(1): 200-202
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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