Smartphone app helps fight obesity, study says

Using a simple smartphone application to photograph one's meals is a useful slimming aid for the overweight, according to an experiment reported on Sunday.

The app, designed by British doctors, aims at promoting "food memory" so that people recall what they have eaten and are encouraged not to on high-calorie treats.

The app has three parts:

— before eating food or drinking a beverage, the user snaps a picture of what is about to be consumed.

— after finishing the meal or drink, the user then looks at the picture that was taken, and answers questions about the consumption experience: "Did you finish it all?" and "How full are you now?"

— before further meals, users also look back at the file of pictures that have been taken in the course of the day, and get a urging them to remind themselves of what they have already eaten.

The researchers recruited 12 or and women and monitored them over four weeks in a small-scale . The volunteers accessed the app more than five times a day on average, and recorded 2.7 daily "episodes" of eating and drinking.

Over the study period, the participants lost 1.5 kilos (3.3 pounds) on average.

Six lost a kilo (2.2 pounds) or more and four lost between zero and one kilo (2.2 pounds), although the other two gained weight, by 100 and 400 grammes (3.5 ounces and 14 ounces) respectively.

"Raising awareness of eating and weight loss achieved suggest this approach could be fruitful," said University of Liverpool investigator Eric Robinson.

"Given that our trial was a very brief intervention with little contact time and no or support, this is a promising finding."

The work was unveiled at the European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, northwestern England.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Smartphone way to lose weight

Apr 15, 2013

Forget fad diets and hypnotherapy; your smartphone could be a key tool to losing those post-Easter egg pounds, according to scientists at the University of Leeds, UK.

Food memories can help weight loss

Mar 18, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Research led by a psychologist at the University of Liverpool has found that using memories of recent meals reduces the amount of food eaten later on.  It also found that being distracted when eating leads ...

Mobile app boosts weight loss by 15 pounds

Dec 10, 2012

Using a mobile app that tracks eating and activity helped people lose an average of 15 pounds and keep it off for at least a year, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study.

Recommended for you

Obesity stigma real and prevalent

Apr 10, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—Well-known obesity expert Joe Nadglowski, president and CEO of the Obesity Action Coalition, recently visited the University of New Mexico and presented two informative lectures related ...

User comments