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Do-it-yourself diets beat commercial weight-loss plans in consumer satisfaction

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Health Trackers

Come on, get app-y

Shape, Juice, GetHealth, PillJogger Lite

Diet and fitness apps seem to be more popular than ever, and a new survey of more than 1,300 women ranks the most popular ones. The February issue of Shape magazine, which conducted the online survey of its readers in connection with SheKnows.com to learn how social media is affecting women’s health habits, found that nearly 60 percent of the women reported using apps to stay on track with their health goals. Calorie trackers are the most popular apps, with 31 percent reporting use of them. A quarter of respondents said they use a mobile GPS or route tracker; 24 percent said they use a food diary or meal planner app; 16 percent reported using a workout app; and 13 percent said they use workout-tracking tools. Are you in the market for a new download? Several free smartphone applications were recently showcased at the mHealth Summit at National Harbor. GetHealth awards points for the healthy actions you log and lets you compete with friends. Juice allows you to track nutrition, exercise and sleep. PillJogger Lite reminds users to take their meds.

Weight Loss

DIY diets outscore commercial ones

Consumer Reports, February issue

How’s that new year’s resolution to drop the extra pounds shaking out? For those who may need a little assistance, Consumer Reports has rated 13 weight-loss programs, including commercial plans and do-it-yourself diets. Among more than 9,000 of the magazine’s readers, DIY diets received the highest satisfaction ratings, beating out even the most popular of the commercial plans in the survey, Weight Watchers. The top-ranked “diet” is actually not a diet at all: MyFitnessPal, a smartphone application and Web site that allows users to track calories and exercise, received the top satisfaction score of 83. The Paleo Diet, which urges dieters to “eat like a caveman,” received a score of 80. The Mediterranean Diet scored 77 and SparkPeople, another app and Web site, scored 76. Meanwhile, Weight Watchers came in with a score of 74, Medifast received a 70, Jenny Craig scored 66 and Nutrisystem scored 56. The magazine noted that these scores don’t necessarily mean one diet is better than another; satisfaction scores didn’t correlate with weight loss.

— Maggie Fazeli Fard

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