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Healthy apps for diabetes care

Telephone with apps.Image2A computer programme designed for a particular purpose, applications (apps) are downloaded onto Smart phones and might well improve your behaviours (if you bother to use them!).

With a condition like diabetes with it’s specific needs, and the fact that so many numbers in the form of either blood test results or carb counting, apps really are ideal. What they can bring is both colour (for ease of understanding) and order (ditto). Plus, they’re personal, being on your own phone. So what healthy apps are out there for diabetes care?

Diabetes UK has a very popular blood sugar tracking app called D Tracker. If you’re already using a blood test meter with a memory the point of using an app is to help see trends as they graph the results for you. With it you can track blood glucose results, your insulin doses, ketone results, carbohydrates eaten, calorie intake, your weight and also how you are feeling. You can also plug in info such as your doctor’s details and medical information (such as medications being taken). So it’s a handy place to store details about your diabetes. From America there are apps such as dLife and Diabetes Health (another online diabetes magazine, run by someone with diabetes, but with an American focus).

Several very useful apps are based on either on food information, or help to motivate you to do more exercise. Some — such as GIndexFree and Footstepsfree – are, as the names suggest, free to download. Others you need to pay for, like Carbs&Cals and New in 90 will cost £3.99 and £4.99 respectively. There’s a DAFNE app, whether you’ve done a DAFNE course or not, it’s work a look (it’s free).

So how do apps work? You can check them out yourself if you have an iphone or smart phone, and indeed may have done already. But for example, New in 90 is a health and fitness app designed to help users take control of their eating and exercise habits over the course of 90 days. It has been crafted by William Campbell, the man behind “The Y Plan” which rose to fame in the 1990s on the back of the 1980s home video exercise boom, selling over one and a half million copies.

The Y Plan was originally launched as a video and book combination in 1990 as part of a joint venture between the London Central YMCA (the “experts” and the UK’s leading trainers of fitness professionals), Lifetime Vision (production) and Virgin Vision/Books (distributors). Now in the modern ‘app’ version, New in 90 is meant to help you change your eating and exercise habits via user-friendly technology to provide a comprehensive all-round lifestyle improvement plan.

It’s fair to say that many apps cater to those who are already fit – Nike Fit, for example, this is aimed at the 80% of adults who either don’t exercise enough or the 62% who are overweight. With the deep rooted philosophy that permanent weight control and healthy fitness can only be brought about by gradually changing the user’s lifestyle and mind set, the plan marks out a slow change of habits in manageable daily bites rather than one big, but temporary, gesture.

The team behind the app bring information and advice on nutrition and exercise but also about beliefs and attitudes to eating and exercise. If the mind is not prepared to accept change, then no diet or exercise plan in the world is going to help. The team includes nutritionist Claire Bannister who has a BSc in Nutrition and Dietetics, has been working as a teacher of nutrition, yoga and Pilates since 1998 behavioural expert Jenni Hallam who has a NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) master practitioner degree and has a wealth of experience in effecting change and development with people from all walks of life.

The App is designed to slowly adapt the user’s lifestyle in simple and easy steps. A daily objective is delivered to the mobile providing the user with small and manageable pieces of advice to help them gently and gradually adjust their lifestyle for the better.

New in 90

Diabetes UK Tracker

Cook and Count Carbs

DAFNE app

This feature first appeared in our free-to-receive online magazine. We cover diabetes news, diabetes management equipment (diabetes kit) and food news for the diabetic diet. Go to the top of this page to sign up – we just need your email address.

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