Four Apps for Tracking Your Health
In current society, people are becoming more health conscious and nutritionally mindful. Many people are aware of counting calories and energy needs leading to a demand of free user friendly calorie trackers (University of Massachusetts Medical School, 2013). Previously, only large institutions, schools and foodservice companies were able to purchase nutrition analysis programs such as ESHA Food Processor or Computrition. Recently, there has been an increase of calorie trackers and nutrition analysis apps available online and on phones that are available for the public to use for free. However, the variety of apps has led to the public wondering which of these apps are suitable and accurate for the general population (eatrightPRO, 2015). Concerns consist of the convenience and user-friendliness of these tools, and providing a large food database while being simple enough to navigate (eatrightPRO, 2015). With the surge of calorie counters, here are a few of the most popular, accurate and easy access apps for online and mobile use:
The most popular app, with over 75 million users, for free energy and nutrition analysis is available online and on mobile (MyFitnessPal, 2014). It tracks meals, exercise and fluid intake while listing out the daily amount of calories, macro and micro nutrients needed to meet your personal goals. Food is easily searched through their database or by scanning the barcode. MyFitnessPal started employing Elle Penner, MPH, RD in May 2013 as their in house nutrition expert and food and nutrition blog editor (Penner, 2013). It is super easy to use and with the recent addition of a Registered Dietitian, it could lead to more accurate information and assistance for their users.
Developed by Dietitians of Canada for free access online and on mobile, the food database and serving size is based off the Canadian Nutrient File and Canada’s Food Guide (eaTracker, 2015). It analyses nutrition and energy based on sources developed by Health Canada, research articles, and studies (eaTracker, 2015). There are also nutrition tips and tools developed by registered dietitians to help the consumer learn how to eat well and stay active. “Users can sign up to have a registered dietitian be their coach for making healthy choices and achieving their goals.” (eaTracker, 2015).
A free online online calorie counter with an iTunes app for people on the go, it consists of two levels of accounts (SparkPeople, 2013). The free account allows for users to track their meals, count their caloric intake and search through the database (FitDay, 2015). The premium account allows for ad-free calorie tracking with customization and advanced reports (FitDay, 2015). For an additional fee, users can have a registered dietitian assist with creating SMART goals, assessing nutrition, get personalized recommendations and customize a plan to meet your goals (FitDay, 2015).
SparkPeople defines themselves as a free weight loss program that teaches people how to eat healthy and exercise regularly (SparkPeople, 2013). Their team consists of a motivation expert, a registered dietitian, a fitness coach, a chef, and a doctor which lead users with tips and articles on healthy lifestyles (SparkPeople, 2013). They post recipes, household tips and exercise strategies on their front page for easy access for their users (SparkPeople, 2013). It is available online and