Sparrow, MSU team up to create healthy eating app

Posted at 11:26 AM, Jun 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-23 11:26:46-04

Folks have tried it all, restrictive diets, counting calories and more in an attempt to lose weight and stay healthy.

But now, Mid-Michigan health experts say they've found a way to change your behavior - just pick up your smart phone.

Sparrow Hospital and Michigan State University have teamed up to create "mHeart." It's an app that isn't about tracking every little thing you eat, it's about reaching your health goals.

If you eat a vegetable for example, simply add that category to your daily total with a few simple touches on your phone.

You can set goals in terms of what foods you want to eat or cut out of your diet. Plus, the app shows you the health risk that comes with every food you eat.

"Are you at a high risk or at a moderate risk or at a low risk for heart diseases?" says Dr. Pang-Ning Tan PhD, who is an Associate Professor at Michigan State working on the computer science side of the project.

The experts say setting goals and seeing directly how what you eat effects your body makes all the difference.

"Ahead of time before we make a decision to have a sweet, carbohydrate, processed food, we think about it," says Dr. Paul Entler, D.O., the Director of Sparrow's Weight Management division.

Plus, with this project, timing is everything.

"In Mid-Michigan it's pretty significant, about 60% of patients are overweight," says Dr. Entler.

Right now, a group of patients is testing the app, it is getting good reviews so far. The team hopes to have it available for everyone by next year.