"For society as a whole, these applications could be incorporated into education and health care systems and used to complement professionals' work, Kaipainen added."
London, May 31 - Even as people lap up mobile applications for stress management and healthy eating, making these have long-term effect has been a challenge as their appeal tends to be short-lived.
Studies that assessed the use of online and mobile applications for healthy eating found that less than 10 percent of the almost 200,000 users they attracted remained active.
Applications can contribute to improved well-being and provide support for behavioural changes as long as they are simple, attractive and easy to integrate into everyday life, the study noted.
The design of the applications should be clear and user-friendly, support small daily actions that result in immediate benefits, emphasise self-improvement and reflection, and offer guidance while maintaining freedom of choice.
For individual users, the applications should aim to become redundant once the users have learned enough skills and gained self-knowledge, said research scientist Kirsikka Kaipainen from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.
For society as a whole, these applications could be incorporated into education and health care systems and used to complement professionals' work, Kaipainen added.
In order to make an impact on public health, both end users and professionals need to be involved in the development of well-being applications, business potential needs to be taken into account from the start, and the applications should be based on theory, the study concluded.