Harvard Heart Letter

Apps, texts, and sensors for boosting heart health: Do they help?


Image: iStock

Mobile health technologies show some promise for motivating people to make healthy choices for their heart.

The number of health-related apps for mobile devices has exploded in recent years. According to one estimate, online services (mainly iTunes and Google Play) feature more than 165,000 of these downloadable software programs. One in five American adults with a smartphone has at least one of these digital tools, many of which focus on factors related to heart health.

The most popular ones monitor physical activity. Others aim to help you lose weight, monitor your blood pressure, manage your diabetes, or quit smoking. But can using these apps really make a difference? That's hard to say, as the evidence about their effectiveness is limited, according to an American Heart Association (AHA) statement that reviewed current research on mobile health (known as mHealth) technologies related to cardiovascular health. That doesn't mean you shouldn't give them a shot, however.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »