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Over the years there have been multiple attempts at building a better tool to help with losing weight, and while some of them have shown some good results, others haven’t been quite as successful. Recently, a new research project has shown that using social networking programs designed specifically for weight loss could pay off for those trying to get fit. The study was conducted by researchers from the Imperial College of London, who used 12 other studies as a basis to show that these kinds of programs have significant results in aiding patients with weight loss goals.

Global Healthcare Policy

This research project has been published in the Journal of Health Affairs, and is one of ten such reports on global healthcare policy that was conducted for the World Innovation Summit for Health, which is presented by the initiative of Qatar foundation. Obesity has become a growing problem across the globe and is affecting the health and wellness of nationalities around the world by contributing to cases of diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and even mental health issues. This initiative was designed to help in the battle against obesity, and using tools such as popular networking sites was one notion that seems to have paid off.

Results From The Study

12 studies from the United States, Eastern Asia, Australia, and Europe were used to monitor social networking websites for significant weight loss, and by using 1,884 accounts, they found that people who use these networks were able to achieve a decrease in BMI, as a collective group, of 0.64. These findings might be modest in relation to the amount of weight that most Americans and other nationalities find themselves trying to lose, but it is also a significant figure, proving that if used right, social networking could help. Medical News Today writes: “One advantage of using social media over other methods is that it offers the potential to be much more cost effective and practical for day-to-day use when compared to traditional approaches.”

This could be contributed to being part of a larger community, and gaining support from friends, family, and even strangers that you might not have contact with from a less digital standpoint. People have also received advice from doctors and nutritionist through these portals without the need for leaving their homes or paying excessive medical bills.

Pros and Cons of This Method of Weight Loss

Of course there are pros and cons to every weight loss tool or method, and this one has its flaws as well. Social networking often leaves little to privacy, which means, of course, that all of your weight loss questions, concerns, and even successes are made fairly public. Even those people who choose to lock their accounts can have information leaked, or find that they are sharing more than they realize with the masses. On a more positive note, the amount of support that can be gained through these sites, and the self-esteem that stems from being able to update on personal goals achieved and photos of progress can make weight loss much easier. It also forces accountability, because once you’ve made a commitment to others to lose weight, it’s more difficult to give up on yourself and quite.

Other Digital Weight Loss Tools

This isn’t the first form of weight loss tool to make an appearance through the online market, in fact, one of the fastest growing avenues of mobile applications seems to be in weight loss, nutrition, and fitness. Mobile apps are popping up across the world with tools that help you make goals, track your progress, and enjoy your successes. There are also apps that can create customized programs for personal training, nutrition, and count your calories for you. Some of these can be quote advanced, while others are simple, but effective. Anything from charting weight loss to tracking steps as a pedometer can be achieved using a smart phone these days, and all of this information can then be transferred in an update to a social networking account if you choose to continue on that path to fitness. Forbes explains: “Enter your current weight and your desired weight and the app will tell you the maximum daily calories you can consume to meet your goal.  Log fitness activities and scan barcodes on food items, to easily keep track of your progress.”

These new applications allow you to scan barcodes at the grocery store and will tell you whether the item suits your meal plan. Not only can it let you know whether or not you should be eating it, but some of these apps will also make suggestions as to which item would be better suited for your current dietary needs.

Saving Money On Weight Loss

These applications might not be a trade-off for a gym membership, because you can’t use your smart phone or social network as a treadmill, but they can certainly give you alternative sources for exercise and even suggest places in your local area where you might find interesting ways to get fit. India Times reports: “One advantage of using social media over other methods is that it offers the potential to be much more cost effective and practical for day-to-day use when compared to traditional approaches.”

There is also the cost factor to consider; many weight loss programs, memberships, and club packages require hefty membership fees. Eating healthy can be costly as well if you don’t know how to go about it or where to shop. Using social networking can align you with the right people to help you find out what you need to know without over spending on your way there.