There are hundreds of health apps out there that do all kinds of things, from summoning emergency personnel to managing a weight loss diet.  And while it’s easy to look simply at the functionality of those apps to determine which ones work the best, what makes an app the “best” is as much a function of the culture of the user as it is a function of the quality of the app.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we love to live healthy.  The Puget Sound is one of the nation’s slow food capitals.  The ample hiking trails in our region – along beaches and through mountains – get plenty of use, rain or shine.  When we have back pain, we’re much more likely to see a Seattle chiropractor than a traditional doctor – and we’re more likely to seek therapy than pain medication.

So what are the Top 5 Health Apps for the Pacific Northwest?

1.  Carb Counting with Lenny

The Atkins Diet craze may have passed, but the health-conscious among us haven’t lost their distrust of carbohydrates – and for good reason.  The high glucose levels in many of our most common foods (such as breads and potatoes) are the leading cause of arterial inflammation, diabetes, and a host of other serious health problems.  But even healthy parents have a hard time keeping their kids’ diets in line with their own.  Counting Carbs with Lenny is an interactive, animated app designed to encourage carb-counting by young kids.  Bravo.

2.  Nike+

The downside of Nike+ is that it’s a little weird to broadcast your exercise regimen on the Internet.  But in true Nike style, the app is as much about attitude as it is about function.  The developers’ bet – which paid off in a big way – was that hooking an app that tracks running distances and times into social networks would make exercise itself social.  It did.  However weird it is to share your heartbeat and running path with the fifteen hundred strangers you call facebook friends, Nike+ has encouraged tens of thousands of would-be runners to hit the streets.

3.    Everyday Health

Most of the apps out there rely on a gimmick to attract customers, and what makes Everyday Health so special is that it avoids that trap.  The app is a simple, straightforward, and extremely helpful reference guide for general health questions, providing information on common health conditions and nutritional guidance.

4.  Sparkpeople is a popular health-related website, and the app provides broad functionality that will appeal to a variety of users.  At the core of the Sparkpeople experience is weight control, and in addition to fitness tracking and calorie counting, the app provides ready access to a host of exercise and nutritional information that can help a user maintain good health or improve poor health.

5.  KidsCheckup

There isn’t a parent in the world who hasn’t been up in the middle of the night wondering what could possibly be wrong with a child – and what should be done about it.  KidsCheckup provides an overall look at kids’ health, ranging from information on nutrition and exercise to medical information that can make those late nights a little less terrifying and a little more comfortable for the parent and the child.


Written by Drew Hendricks