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Health

Are Health Apps and Wearable Devices our Best Shot at Achieving a Healthy Weight?

  • Written by News Feature Team


Being overweight is nothing new for Australians; however, there seems to be a new fad diet or new exercise regimen every other day. If they worked, then they probably wouldn’t always need to invent something new. It’s no secret that healthy eating and getting the right amount of exercise are the keys to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. The problem with diets are inherent in the name and concept. So many people who go on a diet, often gain the weight back after the diet is over because it didn’t help with the everyday lifestyle aspect. Rather than trying a special diet, we know that choosing a permanent healthy lifestyle is the best way to go and the best way to stay at a desired weight. It’s maintaining that healthy lifestyle where most of us need help. Some of the latest inventions that help us promote a healthy diet and active lifestyle aren’t diets at all, instead they are applications that you can have on your smartphone to help you make better, healthier food choices and wearable devices that help keep track of how active you are and remind you to be more active. In this article, we will explore some of the latest apps and devices so that you can see if they will work for you and keep you at your healthy weight.

Wearables


Wearables are taking the market by storm. You may know them as brand names like FitBit, but many wearables are being integrated into your smartphone devices or available on the Apple Watch. Since we have our smartphones with us all the time and everywhere we go, applications on them can count steps for you, monitor your activity level, and much more. The constant reminders and gamified rewards for keeping up with activity and recording your intake and exercise give users the motivation to keep going. The key is in understanding that this is a lifestyle change, not a temporary diet situation. The market for wearables will only continue to grow and improve technologically as the entire Internet of Things (IoT) industry blossoms over the next several years. The technology will not only improve, but will be more accessible worldwide.

FoodSwitch App


The FoodSwitch App is a new smartphone application that comes from the George Institute for Global Health. It was designed by the experts there and is based on research led by their clinical research organization, The George Institute, a parent company of George Clinical. There is a need in Australia for the FoodSwitch app because two of the nation’s biggest killers are heart attack and stroke - both of which can be prevented by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. The FoodSwitch app works by crowdsourcing data compiled with three years of research on packaged foods in Australia done by the experts at The George Institute and George Clinical. Users download the app to their smartphone and can then use it to determine better food choices and alternatives. While in the grocery store, users can scan a packaged food label and the application will let them know if that is a good choice, and if not, name specific healthier alternatives. Food labels can be very confusing and even foods that seem healthy can have high amounts of sodium, sugar or saturated fats. The app even has special filters so that it can be customised for specific health needs. The different filters are SaltSwitch, FatSwitch, EnergySwitch, SugarSwitch, and GlutenSwitch. Professor Bruce Neal of The George Institute explains how FoodSwitch has made a healthier diet more accessible, “Good eating habits are one of the best ways to prevent disease and as long as food labels remain a mystery to many, FoodSwitch will be here to help Australians do what they can to reduce the risk of dying early from two of the nation’s biggest killers: heart attack and stroke.”  Now, FoodSwitch isn’t only available in Australia, it is available in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, South Africa, India, and China; and a new version is being developed for the United States.

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