How Mobile Tech Might Help to Rewire Our Health Habits

U.S. consumers spend five hours per day on their mobile devices, according to new research by Flurry, an application that provides analytics for businesses to monitor the trends and habits of mobile users. That’s a 20 percent increase in time spent from Q4 of 2015.

The steady rise of mobile tech comes as no surprise. Walk into any restaurant and you’ll see people immersed in their own digital worlds, scrolling to stay connected with their social circles, swiping to find their soulmates, or clicking to gain knowledge. We often feel lost without our cell phones, never letting them out of arm’s reach, even while we sleep.

However, not all mobile tech time is bad. It all depends on how it’s spent.

In 2015, the American Heart Association reviewed published, peer-reviewed studies about the effectiveness of mobile health technologies for managing weight, increasing physical activity, quitting smoking and controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. While there’s limited evidence of mobile tech’s effectiveness on reducing risk factors for heart disease and stroke, the AHA stated, smartphone apps and wearable sensors have the potential to help people make healthier lifestyle choices.

Here are three of them:

  1. Managing weight – People who included mobile technology in a comprehensive lifestyle program were more successful in short-term weight loss than those who tried to lose weight on their own, according to AHA’s statement. To choose the right mobile well-being program, find one that focuses on the nutritional value of the food you are eating, combined with monitoring your physical activity.
  2. Tracking physical activity – One in five American adults use technology to track health data. The most popular health apps downloaded focused on exercise, counting steps, or heart rate. While the majority of studies show that using an online program boosted physical activity more than not using one, AHA said, more research still needs to be done to assert that wearable tech actually helps you to move more.
  3. Curbing cigarette use – Mobile phone apps that use text messaging can nearly double your odds of kicking (the cigarette) butt. However, the majority of people using these apps didn’t quit for good, AHA noted. For results that stick, consider using an app in tandem with a program designed to help you quit smoking.

At ADURO, we believe that data, technology and people make for a powerful combination that can lead to positive life change, like the examples above. But we also know that health is only part of the equation. Discover how we take a “whole person” approach to total well-being by checking out our Human Performance white paper.