The world is currently in the midst of an obesity and health crisis. The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 1.9 billion adults are overweight and another 650 million are obese.
This is a cause for concern since obesity increases a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. In addition, all of these illnesses come with a hefty individual price tag--in addition to lost societal productivity. Experts predict the total economic cost of obesity will reach $1.2 trillion per year by 2025.
The health and wellness industry has grown rapidly in response to this crisis, with much of the growth coming from mobile app development. These companies are collaborating with offshore development services to build well-designed, AI-driven applications that help users take control of their health and improve their quality of life.
Mobile apps are key to industry success
Recent research indicates that the international health and wellness industry is now worth more than $4 trillion. The industry has grown rapidly in recent years--with an estimated growth rate of 12.8 per cent in the past three years.
The wellness mobile application market, which is largely driven by established tech companies and health startups utilising offshore development teams, grew by an impressive 61 per cent in 2018 alone, reaching $327 million in revenue that year. The popular fitness tracking app MyFitnessPal brought in more than $42 million in 2018 by itself.
Read on to learn more about how the wellness industry is becoming a leader in mobile app development and what this holds in store for the future.
The legacy healthcare industry has invested heavily in mobile technology over the past five years. These applications are already helping improve medical outcomes and making communication between healthcare providers and their patients simpler.
Mobile patient portals are one of the most popular types of healthcare apps. These programs allow patients to access their medical records, create new appointments, and ask followup questions anywhere in the world with the touch of a button.
In the future, patients will be able to sync data from wearable devices, as well as mobile fitness and nutrition apps. This will help doctors develop a more well-rounded view of their charges and help patients learn how to proactively improve their health.
Tech companies are working to produce innovative mobile healthcare applications as well. Medisafe is an application that helps patients, particularly those with memory problems, keep track of their medications on a daily basis. It also notifies patients of dangerous prescription interactions, reminds them to refill prescriptions, and notifies caregivers if a scheduled medication is missed.
Established gym chains are taking the lead on mobile fitness apps. High-end fitness companies like Equinox are developing AI-driven applications that utilise individual user data to tailor their client’s workout and improve results.
Equinox’s digital coach is an AI bot that “learns” from each gym member’s goals and past workouts. The bot uses this data to offer workout reminders and to program fitness plans that improve completion rates. Equinox stated that digital coach users login to the program 40 per cent more often than regular consumers.
Personal trainers and fitness gurus have developed their own mobile apps as well. The popular strength training program StrongLifts uses mobile technology to help users meet their training goals.
StrongLifts’ mobile app keeps track of users past workout, automatically adds weight to ensure progressive resistance, and stores all data on the cloud for safekeeping. The app’s smooth user design and ease-of-use are the main reasons that StrongLifts is among the most highly rated applications on Apple and Google’s mobile stores.
Key players in the wellness industry have responded to the obesity crisis by developing nutrition apps that help users track calories, make healthy eating choices, and work towards weight loss goals.
The most well-known nutrition tracker is MyFitnessPal. This mobile app helps users keep track of their meals, search for calorie and nutrition information from the company’s extensive database, and monitor of their weight loss goals.
The innovative nutrition app Fooducate goes even further. While the app does track calories, weight loss, and exercise, it also helps users understand the value of the food they consume.
In particular, the app breaks down the nutritional value of each food and the glycemic index, or impact on blood sugar. This helps dieters make smart food choices that fuel their bodies with vitamins and minerals.
The international community is struggling to contain the growing obesity and chronic illness epidemic that is causing healthcare costs to soar across the world. The wellness community has sought to help reduce the scope of this crisis by promoting the idea of healthy living--which includes regular preventative doctor visits, healthy eating, and rigorous physical activity.
Recently, the industry has begun collaborating with offshore development companies to create custom mobile applications that bridge the gap between doctor and patient through mobile health portals. They’ve also created AI-driven fitness and nutrition trackers that help users make better health decisions and lose weight.
Experts predict that the health and wellness industry will continue to grow rapidly over the next decade. One of the main drivers of that growth will be from mobile applications that help users take their health outcomes into their own hands.
Paul Azorín, Founder and Chief Technology Officer, BairesDev