Can Smartphone Apps Make you Healthier?

Nowadays it seems as though everyone has a smartphone. With access to smartphones comes access to apps from the Apple Store or Google Play. Surprisingly, some of the most popular apps are related to health. In fact, “in mid-2014 there were over 100,000 health and medical apps listed in the two major app stores, Apple App Store and Google Play, and new ones are being issued every day” (Lupton). In her post entitled App-ography: A critical perspective on medical and health apps, Deborah Lupton explores the phenomenon behind health related apps.

According to Lupton, the majority of these apps that are being downloaded involve monitoring weight, diet and exercise. Furthermore, she notes that one fifth of individuals with smartphones have downloaded one of these apps. Thinking anthropologically, one can infer that meaning can be made from why these apps are so popular. As a society, the United States values body image. Therefore, using an app like this may give individuals hope that they can achieve the ideal body type. Unfortunately, body image is oftentimes correlated to success. Individuals may be downloading these apps in hopes of improving their lives.

Lupton also noted that no one has studied the popularity of these apps, or what type of affecting they’re having socially, culturally, and politically. This led her to begin her own investigation regarding the matter. Her research has shown these apps have had an impact on the professional world, as well as on society as a whole. She claims that these apps can “shape the ways in which the human body is understood and visualized.” Hopefully, these apps can encourage healthier lifestyles and body images. She concludes with suggesting ethnographic research be conducted, as we can learn so much about health and medicine.