A free smartphone app to help people to lose weight in a healthy way has been launched today by safefood. The launch of the app “weight-mate” comes as recent research indicates that one in three Irish adults (35%) are trying to lose weight. At present in Ireland, almost two in three adults (61%) are overweight or obese and the economic cost of obesity is estimated at €1.1 billion euros.
Lots of people think about their health and weight at this time of year. That’s a good thing, because although obesity levels have stabilised, the recent Healthy Ireland survey showed that 60% of Irish people are overweight. But if you are planning to lose weight, you need a plan and you need good advice. This new app, weight-mate, can give you a helping hand by suggesting healthy meals, helping you to set goals and giving you encouraging hints.
“In Health, the focus is generally on the day to day problems we face but we will never get on top of these or get budgets under control in the long-term if we don’t improve our health as individuals and as a nation. Being healthy starts with personal responsibility, but the Government also has a role to play. That’s why we are supporting this new app, and why we are also pressing ahead with new legislation to make calorie information compulsory on food displays.”
Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, Director, Human Health & Nutrition, safefood said “When it comes to weight loss, the facts of the matter are that quick-fix, fad diets are unsustainable and ineffective and we know that it only leads to people ‘yo-yo’ dieting and regaining the weight they’ve lost or in some cases, even becoming heavier”, continued Dr Foley-Nolan. “Our free weight-mate app helps people to set goals, make realistic plans to eat better and exercise more and monitor those; we know from behaviour change studies that these techniques help people to stick with healthier habits for the long-term. Our app is aimed at the general adult population, not associated with any commercial product and developed by qualified nutritionists”
“Whatever your starting weight losing 5% to 10% of your total body weight and keeping it off will lead to definite improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars. For example, for a man who weighs 15 stone, a weight loss of 10 % will be 1.5 stone, bringing his weight down to 13.5 stone. For a woman who weighs 11 stone, a 10% weight loss is just over a stone at 15 pounds. It’s really good news that this relatively modest weight loss can decrease your risk factors for chronic diseases related to obesity.”
At a size 20 Lisa Fitzpatrick was desperately unhappy, now 5 stone healthier for more than 10 years, Lisa is an advocate for a healthy lifestyle. Commenting on the launch of weight-mate Lisa said, “I’m delighted to be involved in the launch of safefood’s weight-mate app. Many of us engage in fad dieting which might see you lose weight quickly but the problem is it’s not sustainable weight loss and it creeps back on as soon as you stop the diet. I managed to lose over 5 stone ten years ago and have kept off the weight since then but I didn’t have any of the help available today and I know that the weight-mate app would have been a great help to me at the time. I’m going to be using the app now to help manage my weight as part of a balanced diet and would encourage anyone who wants to lose weight to download weight-mate now.”
The weight-mate app features a daily weight and physical activity tracker as well as more than 400 calorie-counted recipes developed by nutritionists. Users can plan and track their meals and activities to help them reach their own weight loss goals.
The app also features a “Groups” function whereby users can set up their own weight loss or physical activity group in their own community or their workplace or join an existing group in their local area via the app.
Almost three out of every four adults now carry smartphones and developments in technology and mobile usage have created an opportunity for people to lose weight with the help of an app. Weight-mate from safefood is free to download for both iPhone and Android and is available in the iStore and Google Play.
 Healthy Ireland Survey 2015. (IPSOS MRBI)
 IUNA (Irish Universities Nutrition Alliance) National Adult Nutrition Survey; summary report March 2011
 Perry I, Dee A. The cost of overweight and obesity on the island of Ireland, 2012 (UCC;safefood) €1.64billion euros (€1.13billion Republic Of Ireland; €510 million Northern Ireland).
 Eir Connected Living Survey; August 2015. 70% of adults own a smartphone