Researchers Investigate Whether Apps May Aid Weight Loss
In Germany, it is now possible for apps to be prescribed for therapeutic purposes, including for obesity therapy. Two obesity apps have been included provisionally in the directory of Digital Health Apps (DiGA) at the country's Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM). Studies of both apps are ongoing. The way in which obesity treatment apps should be scientifically evaluated was recently summarized by nutritionist Christina Holzapfel, PhD, from the Ludwig Maximilian University, in Munich, Germany, at the conference of the German Nutrition Society (DGE). In previous studies, weight loss apps tended to have moderate success. Compared to standard therapies, use of them is not necessarily associated with greater weight loss. A recent meta-analysis has shown, however, that they do affect eating habits and nutrition-dependent endpoints, such as body mass index. Most studies to date have only observed short-term effects of the apps. In general, conclusions about the long-term progression of weight or eating habits cannot be drawn from these findings.
@anup It is unlikely that apps will be able to replace the human touch. Digital helpers have advantages, however. Apps can help a lot, particularly with self-observation and questions such as, "How much am I actually eating and how often am I moving?" In this way, they can support weight loss. In addition, the data collected in the apps can be useful for enabling nutritional experts to give targeted feedback or to conduct long-term care.