A Systematic Review on What Features Should be Supported by Fitness Apps and Wearables to Help Users Overcome Obesity

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Research in Engineering and Technology, 2016, 05 (09), pp. 197 - 206
Issue Date:
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Obesity is a major global challenge. It increases the risk of developing health problems such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Its prevalence puts pressure on the healthcare systems and on individuals’ health and finances as well. The use of fitness technology, mobile apps and wearable devices in supporting health behaviour change is promising. Fitness technology not only expands opportunities for users to access health related information but also facilitate cueing behaviour change and collection of ongoing personal data. The objective of this paper is to identify the features that should be supported by health and fitness apps and fitness wearable devices to encourage obese individuals to be active, change their lifestyle and to keep them motivated to overcome obesity. Firstly, it investigates the effectiveness and the efficiency of prevalent fitness apps and fitness wearable devices design features used to encourage physical activity. It then provides a method to evaluate both fitness apps and fitness wearable devices as motivational tools. The results regarding mobile apps highlight that goal setting, monitoring/tracking and feedback are the best features for motivation and that Zombie Run is the best fitness app for the Australian market in 2015. The results in regards to wearable devices emphasise reminders, tracking / monitoring/ feedback and goals / rewards are the best features for motivation and that Garmin Vivofitis the best fitness wearable devices for the American market in 2015. These results are useful for the users; fitness apps’ and fitness wearable devices’ developers because they provide some understanding of the various features needed to motivate individuals.
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