APP HAPPY WELLNESS

Some insurance companies pay you for getting fit. Ours doesn’t, but the free app “Wellcoin” (iOs) (Android) earns you discounts for healthy behavior. Cheaters are apparently welcome. When Joy was filling out their questionnaire, she put down “Twinkies” as her healthy snack choice and right away she earned five points. In fact, it gave her “health points” no matter what she put down. (Joy hasn’t had a Twinkie since she was 12. Bob has had only one bite in his life — can’t stand em.) She got triple the points if she took a picture of something healthy and clicked “verify.” The Wellcoin community weighed in immediately to judge her handful of unsalted almonds. Tap “Marketplace” to see discounts of […]

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APP HELPS THOSE WITH MACULAR DEGENERATION

Spotlight Text” is $10 for iPhone and claims to make it possible for those with macular degeneration to read books on their tablets. We hope the creator, Dr. Howard J. Kaplan, will do the same thing for games like solitaire.

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ON TRACK

We know personal trackers are quite the rage right now, but this is wild. Of course it does offer something different: tracking a woman’s ovulation period. But there’s nothing high tech about that, it just tracks the number of days.

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STEP COUNTING WITHOUT THE BATTERY DRAIN

“Noom Walk Pedometer” is a step-counting app, free for Android and iPhone, that won’t drain your battery as much as others we’ve tried, such as “Pacer” and “Map My Walk.”

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RATING HOSPITALS

Hospitals.OnlyBoth.com compares hospitals across the nation and shows where they could improve. The data comes from the federal government.

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ARE FITNESS BANDS RELIABLE?

The information you get from “fitness” bands may be off by as much as 40 percent, according to Gregory Welk, an Iowa State University kinesiology professor, who tested seven of them. The top two bands were off just over 15 percent and the worst one was off 40 percent. There were $1.4 billion worth of these fitness trackers sold last year and the market continues to be hot. Professor Welk admits they’re still a valuable tool to achieve fitness.

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NUTRITION FACTS

NutritionFacts.org has the best videos we’ve ever seen on health topics, including heart disease and cancer. Today we learned that while pesticides are found almost universally in the blood of people eating conventional foods from grocery stores, it’s not clear whether this causes health problems. Surveys are difficult, because there are so many variables. Fruit flies are easier to study, for example, but not surprisingly, insects eating insecticides fare poorly. We also learned the most effective way to remove surface pesticides from fruit and veggies: put a little salt in the water when you wash them.

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NUMBERS REPORT: FITNESS TRACKERS

Forty percent of people who bought fitness trackers, such as Fitbit, stop using them within six months, according to a survey of 5000 people by NPD Group. Joy stopped using the Misfit Flash after losing it, and is only one month into the Garmin VivoFit (original version). The survey claimed people are more likely to use the waterproof and rugged versions. Joy likes how the VivoFit reminds her to get up and move around for two minutes every hour.

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GET MOVING

We read about a guy who lost 140 pounds playing “Ingress,” a free Android/iPhone game that gets you moving about in the real world (whatever that is). You the player can choose to be on the side of the “Enlightened” or the “Resistance” as you search for power nodes that connect with another universe.

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AUTISM APP FOR CHILDREN

“This for That: Visual Schedules” is designed to help children with autism. It’s free through April for iPhone/iPad or 99 cents for Android. It helps break down tasks into easy-to-follow steps, helps ease the transition between activities, and gives them rewards for good behavior.

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