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January 18, 2012 at 1:43 PMComments: 3 Faves: 0

Doctor Review - Smartphone Health Apps

By Jeffrey VanWingen M.D. More Blogs by This Author

Recently, my brother achieved his goal to reach his ideal body weight. He lost 40 pounds and it wasn't easy. Like most of us, he was hindered by will power and other stumbling blocks along the way but he says he found a way through it with the help of some new technology. He attributes an app on his smartphone to his success!
With just a push of a button and usually at a reasonable cost, there are a million smartphone apps to entertain and to help us and there are a wide variety  we can use for our health goals.
This program, stored in that wonderful piece of technology we carry around every day, was the factor that led to him reaching his goal.Following are a few of the more useful and interesting apps that I came up with after just a bit of searching.

"Mosquito Buster"

Scared about West Nile Virus or Malaria?  Hate exposing yourself or your kids to the possible ill effects of deet?  Download the "Mosquito Buster!"  This is an app that allows you to repel mosquitos (and mice too).  When activated, the app actually causes your cell phone to emit a high-frequency pitch that is inaudible to humans, but annoying to mosquitos and rodents!


The app "Trainer" was one of the winners of First Lady Obama's Apps For Healthy Kids competition aimed at tackling the childhood obesity epidemic.  This game is presented in a creative and fun format to teach kids the importance of balance in eating and burning calories. In the game, kids have a responsibility to care for creatures that have various dietary and fitness needs. Players actually train with the creatures stimulating them to be active. Through experiential learning, children quickly gain insight into how nutrition and fitness impacts their daily lives, removing many of the stigmas surrounding diet and exercise.Check out a demonstration at

"Meal Snap"

Working at watching your calories but don't want to do all the accounting work?  "Meal Snap" is a new app from the developer DailyBurn. This inovative app makes calorie counting easy - though I'm really not sure how this works! Maybe they have nutritionists at the beckoning call of users to estimate and calculate calories. At any rate, the user simply uses their cellphone to take a photograph of their meal and send it through the app.  In just a short time, the calorie value is given for the meal.  This app has an incredible usefullness to help people manage their caloric intake or keep to a prescribed calorie limit. Knowing the "caloric cost" of a meal also helps us to make better decisions.
Of course these are just a few of the numerous apps out there aimed at improving your health.  I encourage you to use such apps to help knock down the barriers standing between you and better health.

Please comment and share any apps that have been particularly helpful to you! 

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  • My favorite has got to be the mosquito app. Could seriously come in handy at my place by the marsh and river! Thanks for sharing, Dr. V!

  • I like the mosquito app too Erin. I would LOVE to have that...well and would love to have a smartphone capable of accessing that app. ;) I get mosquito bites like crazy in the summer and fall.

    Also, Meal Snap seems like a great one too.

    Thanks Dr. V!

  • I like an app called Weigh Weight LITE. You simply enter your weight each day and view a graph which shows your progress (or lack of it). I find that it is a great incentive to keep going or work harder. This app has some other great features as well. Thanks Dr. V, I find your blog very interesting and helpful.

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