Apps: A Mobile Approach to Better Health

Eating right and getting in shape is easier with these apps

The iTunes store now contains more than 13 000 health and medical apps. If you’re looking for apps to help you eat better and exercise more, the options in this crowded marketplace can be overwhelming. Here are a few best-in-class choices.



Your healthy-living mission starts at the supermarket, and that’s where you need Fooducate (iOS, Lite version, free; full version, US $4; Android, free). Use your phone’s camera to scan a product’s bar code and the app pops up an array of nutritional information. If you’re too busy for all the details, just look at the letter grade awarded to that food product. Tapping a tab brings up healthier alternatives to that product, as determined by the app’s grading system. 


Fooducate
Fooducate  Click on image to enlarge. 

 


Once you’ve bought these healthy foods, stick to a sensible eating plan with Lose It (iOS and Android, free). This popular app asks you to set a target weight and how many pounds you’d like to lose per week. It calculates a daily calorie budget based on your current weight, and with a running tally of the food items and exercises you record, it lets you know how you’re doing each day. If you want more precise calculations, you can integrate calories-burned info from a Fitbit activity tracker and weight measurements from the Withings body scale. 


Lose It
Lose It  Click on image to enlarge. 

 


Fitocracy (iOS, free) focuses on the exercise component of the healthy living equation. This fun and clever app draws from the principles of game design: Each workout and activity you log earns you points (which are awarded by a cheerful robot named Fred, and acknowledged by clicking the “I’m awesome” button), and you accumulate points to reach higher levels. You can participate in special quests, earn achievement badges, and generally indulge your gamer proclivities without spending your life on the couch. The app encourages you to link up with friends and join groups to increase your motivation. 


fitocracy
Fitocracy  Click on image to enlarge. 

 

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