When fingers get pointed in debates over the obesity epidemic in the United States, technology sometimes shoulders some of the blame. Time in front of computer screens or television is often listed as part of the reason why Americans aren’t as healthy as they have been in the past. But the truth is there are also technological advances that have the potential to guide you in your quest for a healthier lifestyle, whether that is eating right, exercising or keeping tabs on vital numbers that are important to your health.
Take smart phone applications for example. Nowadays, you can find applications for just about anything in life that might capture your interest, and healthy living is no exception. So if you’re looking to stay fit and healthy, here are six mobile apps that give you and your family a little extra help:
Lose It!: Counting calories is perhaps the simplest and most effective way to keep track of your health goals, especially if it involves weight loss. But it’s difficult to do all the adding and subtracting in your head, which is where the free app Lose It! comes in. The app allows you to enter what you eat each day and calculates not only calories, but fat, protein, cholesterol and carbohydrates based on portion size. It also allows you to enter different types of workouts, from walking to yoga, to see how many calories you will burn while you are exercising.
Carb Counting with Lenny: This app is designed to help children with diabetes count carbohydrates to help manage their diabetes, but can be of use to anyone. Using their mascot Lenny the Lion, who also uses insulin pump therapy, Medtronic Diabetes introduced this app, which allows children with type 1 diabetes to learn about carbohydrate levels in basic foods. The application also allows users to create a customizable food guide using their own photos or ones they find on the Internet, as well as play games to test their carb-counting knowledge. Periodic contests and giveaways (www.medtronicdiabetes.com/carb-counting-contest) are announced to reward registered users who get highest game scores. Medtronic Diabetes, which makes such products as continuous glucose monitoring devices, designed the app to be useful and educational for both children with diabetes and others who are interested in monitoring carb intake.
Size Me Up: Another application for kids. This one allows children to enter their current height and receive estimates for how tall they might be in the future, at any given age. This can be used to help keep your child motivated to eat right, so they can grow up to be tall and healthy.
BP Buddy: This application allows people who are monitoring their blood pressure to input their blood pressure numbers and heart rate numbers and log them for up to 60 days. An e-mail feature allows users to send their numbers to their doctor for analysis.
The Carrot: As an interactive journal, this application allows you to track multiple items related to health. In addition to entering information on meals, workouts, and even medication, you can also enter your assessment of your moods or the level of job satisfaction you are feeling at the moment to see if you can pinpoint what healthy habits work best for you.
FitReach: This training and diet application allows you to enter information on your meals, as well as workouts. It also encourages you to do regular weigh-ins so you can compare your weight loss with your goals on graphs that are a part of the app.
Applications are available on iTunes and can also be downloaded through your iPhone, smart phone or other compatible mobile device.