Smartphone App Use Unlikely To Yield Major Weight Loss, Study Finds

December 3, 2014 in News

Using a mobile application to monitor calorie intake is unlikely to result in weight loss, according to a University of California-Los Angeles study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, MobiHealthNews reports.

Details of Report

Researchers investigated how mobile apps influence weight loss by comparing the weight loss of:

  • Individuals who tracked their caloric intake using the MyFitnessPal app; and
  • Individuals who received no assistance monitoring their caloric intake.

At the end of the six-month study, researchers looked at participants’ weight loss as the primary outcome of the app’s effectiveness. They also considered participants’:

  • App-use frequency;
  • Satisfaction; and
  • Systolic blood pressure changes.


The researchers found no difference between the groups’ weight loss and systolic blood pressure changes.

Meanwhile, the intervention group set personal caloric goals more often than the control group, but logins to the app dropped “sharply” one month into the study, according to MobiHealthNews.

Researcher Brian Laing said, “Most patients were simply not ready to commit the time to track calories. It takes several minutes to input everything you eat for each meal,” adding that “[a] faster, streamlined interface for entering foods may be a priority.”

Laing said, “Alternatively, weight-loss apps could assess an individual’s readiness for self-monitoring before using the app and could prepare new users for the potential time commitment” (Pai, MobiHealthNews, 12/2).

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