Popular nutrition-related mobile apps: A feature assessment

Around the same time as the Quisper prototype was launched in late 2015, Rodrigo Zenun Franco and colleagues at the University of Reading (UK) published an analysis of the 13 most popular nutrition apps. They considered the approaches and technologies used as well as user feedback and concluded that none provided personalised nutritional advice and there was still a lot to be done to achieve this goal.

The apps were ranked and selected based on popularity. Nutritional assessment was performed via a food diary tool and the balance between intake and energy expenditure compared. However, none of these apps provided personalised nutrition advice based on this information.

New technologies and devices can be combined to encourage behaviour changes. Although most of the apps reviewed recorded changes in weight and tracked physical activity, the link between users and diet recommendations needs to be improved to have any impact on achieving individuals’ goals.

The development of apps focused on health, based on nutrition advice and physical activity, has the potential to be a powerful tool to combat weight gain and obesity as well as other non-communicable diseases (e.g. diabetes, hypertension), but there is still room for improvement.

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