Smartphone applications to aid weight loss and management: current perspectives

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The development and dissemination of smart devices has cultivated a global environment of hyperconnectivity and increased our access to information. The paralleled launch and success of the Mobile Health industry has created a market of commercially available applications or "apps" along with tools or sensors, which allow the user to receive and collect personal health information. Apps and accompanying tools now allow an individual to "self-digitize" and, pertaining to weight management, monitor their body weight, caloric intake, physical activity, and more. These products possess the ability to improve the scalability of traditional in-person weight management services considering their near ubiquity, affordability, and capability to deliver information directly and personally to the user. However, similar to the dietary supplement market, the anecdotal value of these products has driven their popularity and acceptance by the general public without requirement of scientific validation or, in the area of weight management or diet/exercise, validation of the safety and efficacy by the Food and Drug Administration prior to market launch. By conducting a literature and clinical trial search, we found remarkably few active, completed, or published studies testing the efficacy of smart device applications using randomized controlled trials. Research efforts must be focused on illuminating the efficacy of behavioral interventions and remote self-monitoring for weight loss/maintenance treatment with true, randomized controlled trials.

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Diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity : targets and therapy

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