Study say weight loss apps fall short
Plenty of smart phone apps claim to aid in weight loss, but new research suggests that many need improvement, particularly in motivating people to continuously track their eating and exercise habits.
The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, looked at 30 popular weight-loss apps and compared the strategies used in the apps to strategies used in weight loss programs that have been proven effective. On average, the apps included just three or four of the 20 strategies used in the evidence-based weight loss program.
For instance, most apps allow users to set weight loss and calorie goals, which are two strategies also used in the proven program, but only 20 percent of apps told users how many days or minutes they should exercise weekly and none helped users to interpret nutrition labels.
Researchers also found that paid apps had about the same number of strategies as the free apps. The two apps with the most evidence-based strategies were MyNetDiary PRO ($3.99) and MyNetDiary, which is the free version. They each contained 13 of the evidence-based strategies.
The biggest problem with the apps was helping to motivate people to stick with the program. For instance, it lacked the ability to identify factors that trigger people to slip from healthy eating and how to incorporate exercise into their schedule.
Researchers say apps do allow people to connect on social media or receive emails reminders to track their progress, which traditional weight-loss programs do not offer.
Currently researchers are working on a new app called SmartCoach that will ask users to gauge their level of motivation and offer solutions based on database advice from professionals.
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Sourced from: livescience, Hungry for More: What Weight-Loss Apps Are Missing
Published On: Oct 9, 2013
Plane noise linked to heart disease
Two recent studies published in BMJ, one from Boston and the other from London, have found that people exposed to higher levels of airport noise have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Previous studies have determined that people living near airports experience psychological and physiological effects from the high noise levels, including disturbed sleep, nervousness, annoyance and higher blood pressure.
The Boston study analyzed data from the Medicare program, which encompassed approximately six million people aged 65 and over living near 89 airports. Researchers superimposed contours of aircraft noise levels provided by the Federal Aviation Administration over 2,218 zip codes around airports. All the study participants were within the 45-decibel contour of the airports.
The scientists found that on average, those people living with 10 decibel higher aircraft noise experienced a 3.5 percent increase in hospital visits for cardiovascular disease. They also found that people exposed to more than 55 decibels experienced the highest rate of hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease.
The London study was similar, but focused on the districts and boroughs surrounding Heathrow Airport. Results of this study showed a link between aircraft noise and stroke, which could be related to high blood pressure linked to the noise.
The bottom line: Researchers from both teams concluded that aircraft noise has a direct impact on health.
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Sourced from: Medical News Today, Aircraft noise increases risk of cardiovascular disease
Published On: Oct 9, 2013
Aging research better investment than cancer studies
A study published in Health Affairs by a group of top U.S. health scientists claims that research related to delaying aging is a smarter investment than focusing on a cure for cancer or heart disease. The number of people over 65 is expected to double within the U.S. over the next 50 years, from 43 million in 2010 to 106 million in 2060. An estimated 28 percent of this age group is currently disabled.
By slowing the aging process, five percent more of the adult population over 65 would be healthy instead of disabled each year from 2030 to 2060. That equates to 11.7 million more healthy adults. The scientists noted that slowing the aging process is more of a long-term benefit, with no health returns initially. But, figuring out how to keep people healthy longer will help delay the progression of disabling disease, while also lowering disabled life expectancy.
The study noted that targeting specific diseases has a lower return because it neglects aging, the underlying cause of most disability and frailty. One of the biggest claims in the study is that curing cancer would increase life expectancy by only around three years. Compare this to even slightly slowing aging, which would have a significant influence on overall quality of life and health. In one anecdote, the researchers said a 51-year-old adult will live one more year with heart disease or cancer improvements, or two more healthier years with improvements to aging.
From a financial standpoint, increasing the number of healthy years would boost the economy by around $7.1 trillion over the next five decades, according to the study. However, they also noted that health care spending would remain about the same.
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Sourced from: sciencedaily.com, Delayed Aging Is Better Investment Than Cancer, Heart Disease
Published On: Oct 9, 2013