Reviewing weight management apps

A report by the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps (ORCHA) with the British Dietetic Association (BDA) will help dietitians and health and care professionals wanting safe and effective health apps to support people in managing their weight.

The report outlines the risks and opportunities offered by digital health and includes the top 10 recommended weight management apps.

While millions of ‘diet’ apps are available, the market is not regulated. Out of 379 diet and weight management apps reviewed by ORCHA, the average score is 56%; however, a score of at least 65% is needed to indicate the app has met sufficient relevant health, security and usability standards. Many of the apps reviewed and available to download in app stores have the potential to harm users.

The top-flight apps are achieving impressive ORCHA scores – My Diabetes, My Way, Second Nature and My Desmond, in the top three positions, are recommended as achieving high scores across safety, security and useability.

Use of apps throughout the healthcare sector has increased dramatically during the Covid-19 pandemic. ORCHA provides app libraries to the NHS in 50% of regions and saw a 180% growth in visits to its libraries between January and May 2020 across all its services. Since the start of lockdown there has been a 25% rise in daily health app downloads by consumers, increasing from 4 to 5 million every day.

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