Health apps and wearables

Do they actually work?

There are thousands upon thousands of health apps and wearable devices in the marketplace; some are brilliant at aiding users to become healthy, others… not so much. Whether it’s losing weight, getting more exercise or cutting back on alcohol or cigarette intake, there are apps for every health issue out there. The question is, do they actually work?


A freshly released paper in the Journal of the American Heart Association looked at 224 different studies that examined how ‘different apps and wearables helped people make positive life changes’. The results? There was a positive correlation between apps and wearables used and a change in lifestyle; including diet, exercise, and sleeping patterns. 

The studies which covered diet and weight-loss revealed that when participants used mobile and web-based software and wearables, patients performed noticeably better at meeting their targets. Studies that followed exercise also came up with the same results; that wearables helped participants get up and exercise more so than they would without the use of the technology.

The evidence between using apps and quitting smoking also resulted in a positive correlation, and there was certainly enough evidence to suggest that implementing this kind of technology into the healthcare sector would be beneficial to both doctors and patients.


In 2012, the US Food and Drug administration reported that there were an estimated 17828 health and fitness apps and 14558 medical apps available for consumers. That figure has almost certainly increased over the last four years, and looks set to increase again in the coming years; consumers certainly have a large number to choose from. 

Often, whether or not an app or piece of wearable technology is successful in helping you keep fit or eat healthily depends on the consumer and their personal preference.