Control Appetite Using a New App
A team of psychologists at Drexel University have developed two technological tools to help change behavior and aid in weight loss efforts. The first is a computer game designed to improve the area of the brain that controls unhealthy impulses. The second is a mobile app that detects patterns in eating habits, determines when the user is most likely to veer from his or her eating plan, and provides strategies for staying on track.
While a number of factors—and combinations of factors—contribute to overweight and obesity, studies show that the mind is the biggest obstacle to losing weight and keeping it off. For many people, sweet foods, which trigger strong feel-good chemicals in the brain, are difficult to resist. Therefore, it makes sense that training exercises to strengthen impulse control improve weight loss.
DietDash includes 4 different versions—depending on which foods the user eats most often. Study participants play for 8 minutes a day, every day, for 8 weeks. DietAlert is used in conjunction with the Weight Watchers app. It uses a mathematic formula to determine when the user is at risk for making an unhealthy choice and then sends an alert and a helpful tip.
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