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Vitamin D Mobile Healthcare Applications for Consumer Use - Are They Any Good?

1Women's Services & Arthritis Unit, London North West Healthcare NHS Trust, Harrow, UK

2Public Health, Imperial College, London, UK

3River Island Paediatric Academic Unit, London North West Healthcare NHS Trust & Imperial College, London, UK

Journal of Food and Nutrition Research. 2017, Vol. 5 No. 7, 522-530
DOI: 10.12691/jfnr-5-7-11
Copyright © 2017 Science and Education Publishing

Cite this paper:
N Tanna, G Oligbu, M Boullier, M Blair. Vitamin D Mobile Healthcare Applications for Consumer Use - Are They Any Good?. Journal of Food and Nutrition Research. 2017; 5(7):522-530. doi: 10.12691/jfnr-5-7-11.

Correspondence to: N  Tanna, Women's Services & Arthritis Unit, London North West Healthcare NHS Trust, Harrow, UK. Email:


Introduction: Members of the public interested in changing their health behaviour and comfortable with use of social media can download and purchase commercially developed lifestyle and or healthcare computer software. This is facilitated by the increase in technologically advanced, often elegantly designed, small screen portable in-built computerised systems on mobile smart-phones. Aims: With increasing awareness of use of Vitamin D for improved health outcomes, the aims for this study were to identify and evaluate any Vitamin D mobile smart-phone healthcare applications (apps) available for public or consumer use. Methods: Incorporating a multi-phase mixed study design, in phase one Vitamin D apps on mobile smart-phones were identified and categorised by consensus using the Delphi technique. In phase two a database search was undertaken to gain an understanding of research undertaken on use of healthcare apps and any evaluation of outcomes. In phase three a modified validated mobile applications rating scale (MARS) was utilised to evaluate the apps identified in phase one. Each app that provided some health information was assigned objective scores for information quality, and subjective quality and app specific rating scores. Discussion: No Vitamin D apps were identified where evaluation in research trial settings has shown significant beneficial health outcomes. However the literature search helped to identify criteria that form a potential checklist for any future development of a Vitamin D app for consumer use. Use of the modified MARS, with scores assigned for validated information quality criteria, identified two apps which were rated highly but with use restricted to medical teams, and seven apps focusing on dietary intake. Results: Nine apps were identified supporting some level of healthcare delivery and assigned MARS scores. Seven of these apps focused primarily on Vitamin D nutritional support. There were no high quality Vitamin D apps identified that could help consumers with decision on Vitamin D supplementation.