Smartphone applications that help users monitor their food intake, exercise, and other health metrics are helping improve the overall health of users. Studies have shown that people who log their diets daily eat healthier and achieve their weight goals. Not only do applications like these that send notification reminders on a regular basis keep people accountable for their health, it also makes them aware of how changes can affect their health. These health changes can be both negative and positive.
FoodSwitch is an application for smartphones that was developed by the Food Policy Group at The George Institute for Global Health, Australia. It has now been launched in many more countries and versions for more countries are currently in development.
How FoodSwitch Works
What FoodSwitch does is gives users the knowledge right at their fingertips to make better food choices. It can be used when at the supermarket or restaurant for immediate feedback before making a purchase or choosing something off of the menu. The bank of food data comes from crowdsourcing, so the application is continually updating and improving with user generated content. The app can instantly give you feedback about packaged food products including warnings if they are high in salt; have added sugar, additives, saturated fat, etc. The application can suggest healthier food choices when you enter or scan the data about a food. The application has filters installed that you can use to customize it to your health needs and the health needs of your family. The different options include SaltSwitch, EnergySwitch, FatSwitch, GlutenSwitch, or SugarSwitch. When you scan one food source, it will give you alternative choices, even alternative brands.
Other Health Applications
Of course, we have described just one of many different diet, health, and exercise applications that are available on the market. Studies have shown that when applications monitor your health for you that it keeps you more in tuned to your health and more conscious about making better food choices. Studies are still being done to test if this new technology is actually working to make users healthier. However, what is evident is that you get back what you put into it. If you are serious about monitoring your health, health and fitness applications can help you achieve your goals.
Improving Clinical Trials
Logging and monitoring health metrics through applications has also changed and greatly improved the world of clinical trials. Companies like George Clinical have seen a huge increase in participation levels of research studies that are available through anonymous data collecting applications. George Clinical, a leading contract research organisation (CRO) in Asia, is The George Institute for Global Health’s first and largest commercial enterprise. In 2015, Apple launched a new application along with the Apple Watch called The Research Kit. Apple Watch owners can download clinical trial applications which automatically start collecting and reporting the data anonymously. It has helped to instantly increase the participation levels exponentially and research studies for Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular health, and more are benefitting from it. As the popularity of wearable applications increase, the potential for an enormous jump in participation rates will also continue to increase exponentially.