WCMC-Q and Vodafone launch healthy eating app
- Qatar: Sunday, March 17 - 2013 at 17:20
- PRESS RELEASE
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar's (WCMC-Q) health campaign Sahtak Awalan: Your Health First has launched a new mobile phone app that helps users maintain a healthy diet and encourages them to exercise as well. The app is called Your Health First: Calorie Counter.
The application, which is available on Android and iOS devices, has been released as part of the college's ongoing Sahtak Awalan: Your Health First campaign.
Users will be able to easily and conveniently count the number of calories they are consuming each day and will be prompted to choose healthy, nutritious foods instead of those high in saturated fats, sugar and salt.
The vision is that users will use the app to help them maintain a healthy weight and make appropriate lifestyle choices. The application will be available in both Arabic and English-language versions.
The application deploys a system of traffic lights to denote how healthy or unhealthy different dietary choices are, drawing on a vast database of common foodstuffs. For example, if the user logs a meal of a burger and fries, they will be awarded a red light.
If they choose a healthy salad or a dessert of fruit, they will receive a green light. Opting for too many unhealthy foods will cause the app to suggest healthy alternatives for the next meal. Even when eating within the recommended daily calorie intake, it will also notify a person as to whether they aren't getting enough of a specific five-a-day.
Dr. Javaid Sheikh, Dean of WCMC-Q, welcomed the launch of the new app. "With this new application WCMC-Q is embracing the opportunities offered by mobile phone technologies to deliver our message about healthy lifestyles to an ever larger audience," he said.
"The Sahtak Awalan- Your Health First campaign aims to encourage everyone in Qatar to adopt behaviors that will promote their long-term health, and diet is a key element of the campaign's message. By making it very easy for people to monitor their diets, the app allows users to track exactly what they are eating and see where they are eating too many of the wrong things. Having access to this sort of information can give someone a real boost when they are trying to improve their diet," he added.
"Ultimately, the app can help more people switch to the healthy lifestyle necessary to enable people to contribute to the goal of moving towards a knowledge-based economy, as laid out in the Qatar National Vision 2030," he concluded.
A unique feature of the app is a completely new database of typical Arabic foods, such as thureed or machboos, which until now have never featured in popular dietary databases. Furthermore, anyone who downloads the app will be able to use their phone to suggest other Arabic foods to add to the database, meaning the app will become ever more comprehensive over time.
John Saad, Chief Marketing Officer at Vodafone Qatar, said, "We're proud to have created an application with the Your Health First team. Our focus was to build something simple, intuitive, and easy to understand. Users can calculate their optimum calorie intake by just sharing a few details and their personal goal. Users will be able to track their progress and even rely on it to tell them whether their choice in food is healthy or not. We're committed to supporting WCMC-Q's vision in order to promote a healthier Qatar and to educate people in order to make wiser decisions when it comes to their choice of food."
Another useful feature of the app is that each user's progress will be stored on a remote server so they can easily switch or upgrade phones without losing all their data. Khalifa Saleh Al Haroon, Head of the Interactive & Innovation Department at Vodafone Qatar led the team tasked with implementing WCMC-Q's vision for the application. He explained that a key design element was to make the app as user-friendly as possible.
"Because a good diet is important to people of all age groups it was important that the app should be fun and easy to use," said Mr. Haroon.
Based on what you tell it that you're eating, it has some smart features that visually shows you the proportion of healthy food compared to the junk food you've eaten, how much you'll potentially weigh if you keep eating a certain way, and it'll even advise you what you need to eat more of. If you're getting the right amount of calories but not enough fruit and vegetables it'll tell you!
"We believe in Qatar's vision to promote a healthier and more active nation and this is just one of the many ways that we're contributing. I'll definitely be using this app myself," he added.
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