How effective are mobile applications in assisting with better lifestyle choices?

Landmark studies have shown that lifestyle interventions focusing on weight loss, dietary modification  and physical activities are able to prevent progression of diabetes. Although this is the case, the widespread implementation will be hindered due to a few limitations. In-person coaching for large areas lacks manpower, is time-consuming and very costly.

Smartphone app-based lifestyle intervention programmes are the focus of the solutions, but how effective can they be?

D’LITE Study research 

Well, according to the Diabetes Lifestyle Intervention using Technology Empowerment (D’LITE) studies where 2 groups of adults tried out 2 different programs for 6months. 148 total Adults with prediabetes were randomly allocated into 2 groups, 1 empowered by self-monitoring features of the Nutritionist Buddy Diabetes app (nBuddy Diabetes) with in-app dietician coaching for 6 months and the other group receiving standard diet counselling at baseline.

Results from the D’LITE Intervention shows that the group using the nBuddy Diabetes App were able to achieve a significantly greater weight loss, corresponding to weight loss percentage 5.2% vs 1.5% (P<0.001) with a moderate Cohen d effect size, as compared to the control group at the 6th month. The same group also has significantly reduced calorie, carbohydrate, sugar, total fat and saturated fat intake post-intervention.

Mobile health applications prove some effect

Smartphone app-based lifestyle programme with in-app dietitian health coaching can lead to clinically significant weight loss and improved glycemia and can potentially improve the prevention of diabetes among an Asian multi-ethnic population. 

Trajectory from pre-diabetes towards type 2 diabetes can be altered by weight loss through lifestyle interventions. Landmark studies have established that interventions focusing on weight loss, diet modification and physical activity can prevent diabetes progression. Widespread implementation of traditional face-to-face diabetes prevention efforts is limited by low uptake, high attrition and withdrawal rates

To read up more on the study done:

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2021.780567/full

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