Healthcare Technology Featured Article

July 03, 2013

Get Healthy with a Little Help from Your Friends Thanks to WellWithMe

Building new habits within a group is more effective than making changes on your own. Aetna has launched its WellWithMe app to help you get healthy while sharing the journey with a group of friends.

The app was created in Berlin last October at Aetna's International Sponsored Code-a-Thon by a four-member team of American and European developers. After claiming a €3000 ($3886) prize, the team readied the app for consumer use with financial support from Aetna and the aid of other developers.

To use the WellWithMe app, people can choose one activity from each of three groups: Move, Eat and Grow. The activities can be low pressure or demanding depending on what patients want to achieve. In the Move category, patients can choose simple activities such as "Take the stairs instead of the elevator" or more demanding pursuits such as "Exercise 30 minutes per day."

Image via Shutterstock

Within the Eat category, people can choose activities like "Have a salad with lunch" or "Eat three different colored fruits per day." Within Grow, they can choose to improve eye contact or to read for 30 minutes per day. After you select activities, you can invite your friends to join you. You can also post your progress on social media.

The American Psychological Association has reported that people lose more weight and keep off that weight for the long term when they lose weight as part of a group. For example, in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, scientists wrote about a study during which they tracked 166 people who were losing weight.

After the study concluded, two-thirds of the people who had social support during the process sustained their weight loss six months after their meetings ended. Only one-fourth of patients that had no social support achieved the same results.

"We’re terribly excited to see people all over the world use our app," said Caleb Oller, leader of the Berlin 6, the team who created the application. "It’s very gratifying to know that our work can help people live healthier lives and have fun in the process."

WellWithMe is available for free in both Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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