Can Staring at Your Phone Lead to a Healthier Lifestyle?

It may seem like a surefire way to become unhealthy, but new research suggests that such behavior can sometimes help people stay healthy.
3:40 | 09/01/16

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Transcript for Can Staring at Your Phone Lead to a Healthier Lifestyle?
officially have permission to phone it in. Because using your smartphone app actually can get you healthy. A new study from the American heart association is revealing how your phone could be the key to finally getting fit. ? need help getting in shape? There's an app for that. Trying to lose weight, quit smoking, cut back on drinking. There are apps for that too. I have very high cholesterol and my fitness pal helps me track them so I make the healthiest choices possible. Kit looks to her phone to track her diet anytime anywhere using the app my fitness pal. It's just one of hundreds of smartphone apps promising to help you get healthier. But how well do they work? A new report from the American heart association found that health apps can be effective. Researchers discovered more than 69% of smartphone and internet programs aimed at obesity appear to improve weight loss and over 75% of programs help people quit smoking. Reduce alcohol consumption and increase physical activity. The right app can really help you with accountability. Not just being accountable to yourself when you enter it into your app but you also have this sense of community and I think it feels good to be part of this much bigger picture of other people just like you who have the same daily struggles that you do and are uses technology to find a solution for it. So, looking at your smartphone can be a smart way to improve your health. And Dr. Ashton has her masters in nutrition and back with more. I use the running app and motivates me to pound the pavement because I get to see my progress. Tell us about the how the study works. Hats off to the American heart association look at the targeting behaviors, smoking, drinking, exercise, what we eat because those are the major culprits in stacking our risk for heart disease. How can technology help and it looked at a massive number of other studies, text messaging, online support, anything that technology can do to augment this and did find that there was a little more success with people who were using these Ty types of technologies. Motivating and holding you accountability. How much more success are we talking about. Some of them 60% to 0% or more success compared to the standard approaches, so in person counseling, that kind of thing, I know -- It's in your hand all the time anticipate remainzs you what you should and should not be doing. My steps at the end of the day, I go, that's all I walked and so it does that, accountability, the information, the ability to give feedback in realtime. This is not just the future, it's the present and I think any health or wellness provider who is not incorporating technology way behind the eight ball. All apps not created equal. What should you look for when choosing an app? First, look for the -- Mine is free. Some are free. Some are expensive. Try to research the reviews. Again, a lot of customer and user reviews on there and ask yourself is it easy to use. If it's not I don't care how great it's not going to be successful. Is it sustainable and are you getting the results you want? That is the key. And is it annoying because I actually turn my settings off and don't want it to remind me too many times. My voice on the phone will be annoying, Amy, keep running. Have you run today. Dr. Ashton had take your questions throughout the morning on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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