The idea that mobile apps can change behavior is nothing new. Allowing patients to track their health issues and choices can help them become aware of patterns and inspire changes. This was an issue recently addressed in Technology Review, which took a closer look at a food app and its impact on future health.
The article looked at an app called The Eatery, which allowed users to take pictures of their food and upload them for other users. Not only could participants follow those who shared their culinary interests, they could also rate the health factor of each others' food choices. Through the use of this data, patterns were discovered about why food choices were made and when the choices were the healthiest. Peer pressure and the time of day had a significant impact on how healthy or unhealthy a person's meal was. If a person delayed their lunch until later in the day, or waited until they were too hungry, they were more likely to make bad food choices.
The data collected from this app is being used to create a new one, which is meant to promote healthier eating habits. If an app could push users to eat earlier in the day or make suggestions of alternative choices, their overall health might improve. By utilizing the current tools, health behavior can be changed and the future of the country's population can be centered in better eating habits.