Victoria Health Department researchers have reviewed over 200 healthy living apps available on Apple and Android between May and August 2015 . They were rated on how effective they were in helping users change their behaviour and achieve a healthier lifestyle, user-friendliness and quality and will be updated annually.

The apps reviewed were those claiming to help people to eat better, move more, quit smoking, reduce alcohol consumption and improve their mental wellbeing. The top apps were Freeletics - Workout and Training, Quit Now:My Quit Buddy, Get some Headspace, Water Balance and UP - Tracker Required

The top ten tips for choosing a healthy living app were:

  • Make sure the app in enjoyable to use, it will less of a chore and you will use it more often if it is enjoyable and engaging
  • Choose an app supported by someone you trust. Not all apps have the same quality information. Choose an app that is made or supported by an organisation that you trust
  • Find an app that suits your needs, for example an app that is suitable for your age, fitness levels and accessibility needs
  • Use an app that supports what you already have. Use an app that can be incorporated into equipment you have access to, for example fitness tracker device, gym access or exercise equipment. You can always upgrade or change later.
  • Make sure the app allows you to create and modify your own goals. Setting yourself a goal helps build healthy habits and stick to them
  • Choose an app that allows you track your behaviour. Keeping a record of your behaviour helps you to change.
  • Choose an app that shows you how to do an activity. Watching helps you to get started when you do not know how to perform an activity
  • Use an app that allows you to share your progress with your friends, whether through social media or other users of the app community. Support from others helps to achieve goals
  • Find an app with notifications. Let the app remind you of when you had planned to go for a walk or eat a piece of fruit instead of a snack,  this helps you develop habits and stick to plans
  • Choose an app that rewards you when you succeed. this can be a simple as praise and encouragement or your name appearing on a leader board, and helps reinforce a specific activity

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