We love our smartphones. Since they marched out of the corporate world and into the hands of consumers about 10 years ago, we’ve relied more and more on our Blackberry, iPhone and Android devices to organize our schedules, our social lives, our finances and now, even our bodies. Americans are increasingly downloading health and fitness apps designed to help them get in shape, lose weight or manage a variety of health issues.
Because our phones are always with us, these apps promise to make it easier to start the long-term lifestyle changes that promote good health, such as getting more exercise and eating more balanced diets. And now that 91 percent of Americans own a mobile device, health and fitness apps are available to traditionally underserved communities, too. But can these little bits of software really make the difference in the seemingly intractable problem of getting people to eat better and exercise more? There are thousands of mobile apps on the market aimed at diet and fitness. Can they really make us healthier?