Review reveals nutritional benefits of health apps

By Nikki Cutler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Getty | Dragon Images
Getty | Dragon Images
A systematic review and meta-analysis has demonstrated that dietary mobile apps are effective at improving nutrition in adults with chronic diseases, especially where the aim is for weight loss.

This research, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics​, assessed the effects of the use of dietary apps on nutritional outcomes and its results indicated that dietary mobile apps are effective self-monitoring tools, and that their use results in positive effects on measured nutritional outcomes in chronic diseases, especially weight loss.


Researchers from Maastricht University, Netherlands and Zayed University, Dubai, conducted the review following PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines using MEDLINE, PubMed, Embase, and CINAHL databases.

Intervention studies evaluating the nutritional outcomes of dietary apps, published in English between January 1, 2007 and November 15, 2017 were included. The quality of articles was assessed using the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Quality Criteria Checklist: Primary Research.

Heterogeneity was confirmed using the I2​ index and a random-effects meta-analysis was performed for randomised controlled trials. Estimates of the pooled mean difference were calculated for app usage compared to no app usage.

Nutritional outcomes, anthropometric measurements, pertinent clinical/biochemical data, and nutrition-focused physical findings, were drawn from the included intervention studies.

Upon completion of the searches, 18,649 articles were identified, and data were extracted from 22 articles. Pooled estimates showed a significantly greater decrease in weight, waist circumference, and energy intake when an app was used compared to control.

Source:  Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

"The Effects of Dietary Mobile Apps on Nutritional Outcomes in Adults with Chronic Diseases: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis"

Authors: El Khoury​. C.F., et al

Related topics: Research

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