Self tracking fitness, review of popular MyFitnessPal app

MyFitnessPal.Com

Goals of app review:

*Does this popular app work as advertised?
*Can the app be recommended to patients desiring to lose weight and improve their health?

Introduction:

Developed by MyFitnessPal LLC, this app is one of the most popular calorie counting apps in the app store. It is linked to the MyFitnessPal website, with a community message board, links to other self-tracking devices like the Fitbit, the Withings scale and Endomondo to name a few.

 

App Specifics:

This is a very user-friendly, easy entry app. With first-time registration, the user enters basic facts, i.e. name, date of birth, weight, height, etc. If weight loss is a goal, the user puts in actual weight, goal weight, how many pounds per week of weight loss desired (pre-set at one pound weekly, which is what most experts recommend), and how many times the user is going to exercise weekly, for how many minutes.

After this registration process, the app opens to a summary page with the number of calories left for the day, a pie graph of what type of calories have been consumed (carb, protein, fat) and any “news” from followers the user has.

All entries can be made from the opening page. Food entry can be done through text entry or scanning. There is an extensive database to choose from.

Exercise entry is easy with multiple types of exercises, both cardiovascular and strength training.

The progress button gives the user a graphical illustration of how they are doing from a weight loss perspective. There are buttons for messages and information on how your friends are doing.

Healthcare goals of app

Self-tracking is the up-and-coming fitness movement. For patients who want to track calories in order to lose weight, this app offers one of the most, if not the most robust nutritional information in an app. Journaling exercise and finding a community to encourage the user is also possible with the app. MyFitnessPal.Com

Evidence to support goals

The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity found in a study (which primarily analyzed responses to a different study) that self-monitoring activities such as daily weighing and tracking calories are associated with successful weight-loss[1].

Price:

  • Free

Likes:

  • Can tie into other apps and devices for self-tracking, i.e. Fitbit.
  • Syncs across devices and to the website
  • Free
  • Easy to use with robust features
  • App is updated regularly
  • Huge Database of foods, with bar code scanning enabled

Dislikes:

  • There is no way to turn off “recent news” on the opening page.

What providers would benefit from app?

  • Primary Care Doctors
  • Pediatricians
  • Cardiologists
  • Endocrinologists
  • Nutritionists/dieticians

What patient would benefit from app?

  • Obese patients
  • Type 2 Diabetics
  • Anyone wanting to track caloric intake

Conclusions:

  • This app allows users to easily track weight changes, calories consumed and exercise done with an easily understandable interface.
  • Pros-free app that is easy to use with a huge database of foods, scannable entry and exercise tracking
  • Cons-for individuals who don’t want to track calories with a community, the news feed is a large area of the screen to ignore.

Bottom Line:

  • MyFitnessPal has been available for a long time, continues to be upgraded and contains a vast amount of foods in its database. For patients who want to self track activity and calories this app is easy to use and can be helpful.

iMedicalApps Recommended?

  • Yes

Rating: (1 to 5 stars): 4.75

  1. User Interface – 4
  2. Multimedia usage – 5
  3. Price – 5 (free)
  4. Real world applicability – 5


Links:
iTunes Link
Google Play Link

Similar Apps:
LoseIt
WeightWatchers Mobile

References:
1. Kruger, Judy. Dietary and physical activity behaviors among adults successful at weight loss maintenance. 2006-3-17. URL:http://www.ijbnpa.org/content/3/1/17. Accessed: 2012-10-19. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6BXpr1Ref)

MyFitnessPal.Com

Why a calorie-counting mobile app could be the recipe for success

MyFitnessPal.Com

  • MyFitnessPal scored the highest in satisfaction levels in a survey of 13 popular weight-loss plans
  • Weight Watchers was the best paid-for plan
  • Survey reveals apps and websites are changing how people diet as progress can be easily tracked

While people lost ‘significant’ weight on all 13 of the plans in the survey the free mobile app MyFitnessPal got the highest reader score.

The app, allows the user to count the calories they consume during the day using a huge database of foods and recipes. You can roll the counter backwards to take account of exercise.

While Weight Watchers is still the people’s choice, chosen by four out of 10 Consumer Reports’ readers, its scoring on satisfaction was not as impressive as MyFitnessPal, achieving 74 out of 100. However, it did receive the highest score for a commercial diet plan.

‘We were fascinated by the results because satisfaction scores did not correlate well with actual weight loss,’ said Nancy Metcalf , senior program editor at Consumer Reports, which is a non-profit organisation.

‘You can lose on any diet plan if it works for you, but it seems that dieters balance weight loss against other factors such as the extent to which a diet is sustainable or easy to follow.’

In the commercial category, Medifast got the second highest satisfaction score (70), followed by Jenny Craig (66) and Nutrisystem (56).

In terms of initial weight loss, Medifast was the only commercial plan to receive an above average rating. A typical weight loss for men was 20 to 43 pounds while it was 14 to 40 pounds for women.

The Paleo Diet, which instructs dieters to eat like a caveman, came second for DIY diets with an 80 score. This was followed by the Mediterranean Diet (77) and SparkPeople (76) which is an app and website.

The results of the survey reflect the broadening landscape of diets that subscribers reported using.

‘The rapid emergence of new apps to help dieters crunch numbers and stay on top of their calories and exercise regimens is clearly having an enormous impact that our new methodology was able to capture,’ said Metcalf.

In 2011, the last time Consumer Reports rated diets, it based the Ratings on the results of clinical trials and a nutritional analysis.

The report, in next month’s copy of Consumer Reports, notes that readers gave high marks to the diets that helped them maintain weight loss and that prescribed lifestyle changes that were easy to make.

MyFitnessPal.Com
‘The rapid emergence of new apps to help dieters crunch numbers and stay on top of their calories and exercise regimens is clearly having an enormous impact that our new methodology was able to capture,’ said Metcalf.

In 2011, the last time Consumer Reports rated diets, it based the Ratings on the results of clinical trials and a nutritional analysis.

The report, in next month’s copy of Consumer Reports, notes that readers gave high marks to the diets that helped them maintain weight loss and that prescribed lifestyle changes that were easy to make.

MyFitnessPal.Com