Mobile Health Apps: Do They Work?

By Brian Byrne

There are a multitude of mobile health apps downloadable today. Some monitor our sleep patterns, others measure our stress levels, and some are able to measure a person’s “step count,” using it to simulate their chance of survival in a Zombie apocalypse. However, no matter how fun and attractive these apps may be, the question is: Do They Really Work?

The answer is not so simple, and truthfully depends on the app and its functions.
Of course, no health app has 100 percent accuracy, but that is not to say they are not beneficial to our health. In fact, a recent study conducted by the UF College of Public Health concluded that mobile health apps encourage fitness among children and assist adults with developing a consistent fitness routine. They also encourage camaraderie among friends, serving as a platform for competition. Worldwide, people compete through these apps, where the victor either has the highest step count, the most calories burned, or even the longest run.

Just like Instagram and Twitter, mobile health apps appear on a person’s home screen, serving as a message to workout, or as a provoking reminder that their health is being monitored. With this positioning, these apps encourage healthy behavior just by being downloaded. However, not all health apps are related to physical fitness. Some measure a person’s wellbeing, such as stress and sleep patterns, while others encourage self-care and monitoring of mental health. According to a study done by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “mobile apps have significant potential to deliver high-efficacy mental health interventions.”

While there are many other notable apps, each person is different. Therefore, everyone should design their home screen to t his
or her personalized needs and goals. When considering downloading an app, the best way to determine its accuracy is by reading its reviews and ratings.

In all, mobile health apps have proven to be effective and can bene t both our mental and physical health. So go, download a few apps, and witness healthy change in both your habits and behavior.

Notable Health Apps

Sleep Cycle

This 4.7 star rated app, measures a person’s sleep pattern throughout the night. It uses the phone’s accelerometer and speaker to measure movement and sound. With the results, it determines how much sleep a person received and what stages of sleep that person underwent. It is also has an alarm clock feature that wakes the user up when they are in a light stage of sleep, assisting them with a fresh wake up so they do not feel groggy.

My Fitness Pal

This highly-rated app assists with dieting, keeping formulated charts and trends of the foods the user eats, as well as their calorie intake. With persistence and frequent logging, this app helps develop healthy eating habits and behavior.


The meditation app that assists with mental health. It encourages individuals to take a break from their day, breathe and clear the hustle from their minds. With a little effort that goes a long way, this app helps reduce stress levels.