How to Select Quality Healthy Eating and Exercise Apps

What should you look for in apps for healthy eating and physical activity? Research suggests that you look for an app that:

1) allows you to self-monitor, or track, your behavior
2) encourages you to set a general goal
3) encourages you to create detailed plans for how you will achieve your goals
4) provides feedback on your performance, or how well you are progressing toward your goals
5) reviews your behavioral goals and suggests revising or updating them when appropriate
(Michie, Abraham, Whittington, McAteer, & Gupta, 2009)


Researchers have reviewed existing mobile apps to determine if they are based on evidence. Several reviews of mobile apps for health have determined that some apps are not strongly grounded in evidence-based practices. However, by looking for the qualities listed above, you can find apps that are more likely to work for you.


Page authored by Lynn Eades, Health Sciences Library at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Last reviewed: December 4, 2018

Last updated January 9, 2019 at 8:25 pm