It turns out if you're eating healthfully and getting enough exercise, you probably have no reason to use a health or fitness app. In fact, a report from a British medical journal says the apps might only cause anxiety by leading to needless worry about one's already good health.
The article, “Can Healthy People Benefit From Health Apps?,” in the journal BMJ suggests that healthy users are only wasting their time by relying on popular apps like the FitBit activity tracker and MyFitnessPal, which counts the number of calories a person consumes. There's no documented evidence that these apps provide a substantial medical benefit, but neither is there any proof that they cause harm.
“The truth is that these apps and devices are untested and unscientific, and they will open the door of uncertainty,” wrote Dr. Des Spence, a general practitioner in Glasgow, Scotland, who said fitness apps turn healthy people into “neurotics,” as quoted by the New York Times. “Make no mistake: Diagnostic uncertainty ignites extreme anxiety in people,” he said.
In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission has entered into the situation, accusing a number of health developers and marketers of making false claims to lure customers into using their service. Others have suggested that, by giving users caloric and exercise goals, the apps aren't doing anything wrong by encouraging customers to take better care of themselves.
“They can help people correlate personal decisions with health outcomes,” wrote Dr. Iltifat Husain, editor-in-chief of iMedicalApps.com, “and they can help doctors to hold patients accountable for their behavior.”