Patient Centric App Review Series
App Reviewed: LoseIt! v3.9.3
Last Updated: November 3, 2012
Compatibility: iOs, Android, Kindle, Web
Requires: iOS 4.3
Reviewed on: iPad
Goals of app review:
- Does this app help users lose weight?
- Can the app be recommended to patients needing to lose weight?
This app was developed by FitNow, Inc.
It was first available on the iPhone in 2008 and has grown to include a website, Android capability and links to multiple self-tracking devices including the Withings scale and Fitbit. Perhaps its greatest claim to fame is the fact that LoseIt! won the Surgeon General Healthy App Challenge in the health/fitness category in early 2012.
With first-time registration the user enters basic facts, i.e. name, date of birth, weight, height, etc. and determines goal weight and how many pounds per week of weight loss desired (pre-set at one pound weekly, which is what most experts recommend).
The opening screen goes to the My Day and gives a daily calorie budget with the number of food calories consumed and the number of calories burned, giving the user a graphic and easy way to see how many calories are left for the day. From this screen, food and exercise can be added.
Food is entered by meal or snack name and can be scanned in via barcode or entered via the extensive database. Also, previous meals or brand name foods can also be found and entered in. Personal new foods can also be added.
Exercise is added from pre-loaded choices or created anew. Most common exercises are listed and there is a “My Exercises” tab with the users usual exercises. The Log Page shows the daily exercise and food totals.
The Goals page gives a graphic illustration of goals and progress. This is where weight is recorded.
There is a “More” button which takes the user to Preferences, Settings, Summary reports and a link to contact the developer. There is also a “Motivate” button where users can keep tabs on other users of the app.
Healthcare goals of app:
For patients who want to track calories in order to lose weight, this app offers an easy interface to track calories. It offers the ability to scan in food, a large data base of foods, nutritional information besides calories, exercise tracking, a community site on the web, the ability to offer encouragement and be influenced by friends or strangers as well charting tools using other self-tracking devices like the Fitbit.
Evidence to support goals:
Probably the most successful self-tracking program in existence is Weight Watchers which has strong evidence behind the tracking of caloric intake and weight loss. However, Weight Watchers in its original iteration has a social aspect that is only somewhat mimicked by the LoseIt Program with it’s on-line community. Weight loss apps using text messages have been studied but the reviewer was unable to find any evidence-based studies on Medline or Google Scholar using smartphone calorie counting apps.
- There is a website option to “go premium” for $29.99/yr which includes added exercise, tracking and device connection but this is separate from the app.
- Can tie into other apps and devices for self-tracking, i.e. Fitbit.
- Syncs across devices and to the website
- Easy to use with multiple features
- App is updated regularly
- Large database of foods, with barcode scanning enabled
- Password lock choice
- Need to go premium in order to use some devices such as the FitBit scale or Nike+
- Some common devices and fitness apps not supported like Endomondo or the Striiv.
What providers would benefit from app?
- Primary Care Doctors
What patient would benefit from app?
- Obese patients
- Type 2 Diabetics
- Anyone wanting to track caloric intake
- This app allows users to easily track weight changes, calories consumed and exercise with a well designed interface.
- Pros-free app that is easy to use with a huge database of foods, scannable entry and exercise tracking.
- Cons-while self-tracking may help patients monitor caloric input there are no studies linking smartphone apps to actual weight loss.
- LoseIt! is regularly upgraded, easy to use, has all the features needed for self-tracking exercise and calories for achieving weight loss.
Rating: (1 to 5 stars) = 4.5
- User Interface – 4 The interface is straightforward and easy to use though not very graphical.
- Multimedia usage – 4 While not overly complicated in nature the transitions in the app are easy to follow and makes the app clean to use.
- Price – 5 (free) Great value.
- Real world applicability – 5 With obesity becoming more and more of an issue this app could be a tool to help combat the problem.
1. Jebb, Susan et al. Primary care referral to a commercial provider for weight loss treatment versus standard care: a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet, Volume 378, Issue 9801, Pages 1485 – 1492, 22 October 2011 doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61344-5
This post does not establish, nor is it intended to establish, a patient physician relationship with anyone. It does not substitute for professional advice, and does not substitute for an in-person evaluation with your health care provider. It does not provide the definitive statement on the subject addressed. Before using these apps please consult with your own physician or health care provider as to the apps validity and accuracy as this post is not intended to affirm the validity or accuracy of the apps in question. The app(s) mentioned in this post should not be used without discussing the app first with your health care provider.