Smartphone App Monitors Eating Habits, Facilitates Weight Loss: Study

A new smartphone app designed for tracking daily adult eating habits can stimulate weight loss according to a study published recently. Findings from a recent research project conducted by the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, California have revealed that many people invariably demonstrate continuously varying daily ingestion patterns, contesting the conventionally held view that eating habits typically constitute a three-meals-a-day pattern.

The Smartphone based monitoring technique was employed to examine eating habits of 158 healthy adult US participants who had volunteered for the project. The study revealed that regular food ingestion by participants during wakeful hours was suggestive of visibly erratic patterns with unpredictable intervals manifested periodically. According to the study, these patterns may help reinforce healthy eating habits in adults and yield enduring health benefits.

Participants comprised healthy, non-shift adult males and females using the app to collect a snapshot of all consumed food items on a daily basis for up to three weeks. The exercise, apart from revealing that most people spend up to a startling 15 hours every day consuming different types of fares without much discernible awareness, also concluded that reducing the duration of these hours can lead to a determinable loss of body weight.

In 2014,
“In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight.” [Photo via Shutterstock]
According to the World Health Organization, worldwide obesity statistics, although preventable, have skyrocketed over the last few decades. Many people around the world inhabit regions where being overweight and obesity alone account for more deaths than any other cause. According to last year’s statistics, approximately 2 billion adults are said to be overweight with over 600 million of these classified as obese.

In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Overall, about 13% of the world’s adult population (11% of men and 15% of women) were found to obese in 2014. 39% of adults aged 18 years and over (38% of men and 40% of women) were overweight. The worldwide prevalence of obesity more than doubled between 1980 and 2014

The smartphone app has surfaced as a key source for monitoring irregular daily eating habits, contributing immensely to a project that opens the way for researchers to monitor and determine the relationship between everyday eating and sleeping patterns that may impact an individual’s long term well-being.

The App ‘encrypts’ data by encoding it and securing it in the research database. The database continuously scrutinizes the information. This process secures an exceptional database of daily lifestyle patterns and health updates. A comparative observation of this data equips researchers with better means to comprehend the convincingly relevant relationship between sleep patterns, dietary habits and healthy living. It also provides for new insights into how smartphones can best facilitate new kinds of clinical research along with outlining the risks factors and advantages associated with the information obtained as a result of this project.

Participating individuals are expected to provide answers to a set of brief questions so as to meet established eligibility criteria. Once determined, additional personal information is shared and an agreement to participate is secured. Finally a confidential activation code is provided to the qualifying participants to enable them to download, activate and use the app at will.

The app could be downloaded for free but is required to be accessed only by volunteering participants consenting in writing. At the same time, the app provides “personalized insights” into how these daily patterns influence body weight and contribute to a better understanding of human health and well-being.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Use of Smartphone app technology is an increasingly evident phenomenon today. From apps designed to help users locate ‘misplaced personal items’ to those communicating useful ‘brushing habits’ in order to boost oral health, Smartphones continue to enhance and alter conventional human experience, providing for novel and opportune methods to monitor lifestyle habits and reap stupendous benefits of innovation.

[Photo by Stephen Lam/ Getty Images]