"What health app would you recommend for me?" With almost one-third of smartphone owners in the U.S. using health and fitness apps, you might get asked this question a lot.
If you find it hard to keep up with new health apps, here are a pair of practical tools I use to stay up to date on the latest apps:
- Read the app reviews published in Food & Nutrition Magazine's "Click" section.
- Find a physician's perspective on apps covering health and chronic diseases at iMedicalApps.com.
Finding the right health app is a personal decision. Here are four questions to ask yourself to become a better app shopper.
- For food-tracking apps: Is the database comprehensive and does it have the kinds of food you usually eat?
- For apps with recipes: Do the recipes meet your health goals (such as reducing sodium intake or increasing consumption of vegetables), feature ingredients you have access to and align with your cooking skills?
- Does the app provide easy-to-use and easy-to-understand information? Some sites that review apps provide screen shots so you can see how the information is displayed. If the app is cumbersome, you may find your use of it decreasing over time.
- Finally, perhaps the most important question: Does the app connect with social networks such as Facebook to provide support? Social support is important for reinforcing behavioral change, and a lack of social network integration is a frequent criticism of health apps.