US government launches mobile app store

By: Brian Dolan | Jul 6, 2010        

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NIH BMI CalculatorThe federal government’s USA.gov website unveiled a new “app store” with about 20 mobile applications, including four health-related applications, just before the holiday weekend. According to the FAQ section of the USA.gov app store, the purpose of the new offering is described as such:

“Government apps provide information when you’re on the go. Find instant notification of recalls to the status of veterans benefits. USA.gov is working hard to make government easy, convenient, and accessible. An app, short for “application,” is a tool that helps you accomplish a task or find information. The apps in the USA.gov app store are designed to work on your mobile phone. Some need to be downloaded to your phone while others can be accessed using your phone’s web browser. Most of these apps are free. Some apps may cost a small fee. Please check the description for each app to see if there is a cost. Charges from your cell phone carrier may apply.”

While some of the apps have a pricetag, the four health-related apps are all free to use. The health apps include a BMI calculator app for the iPhone, a mobile-enabled website with information about health topics and a calorie counting tool created by the USDA. Here’s a quick rundown of the four health-related apps, as described by the federal government’s new app store:

BMI Calculator by NIH: One of the most popular tools on the NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Web site is the BMI (Body Mass Index) calculator. BMI is a reliable indicator of total body fat, which is related to the risk of disease and death. The NHLBI BMI calculator receives 1.6 million visitors a month and ranks #1 on Google. This mobile application provides results right on your phone along with links to healthy weight resources on the NHLBI Web site. (iPhone)

MedlinePlus AppMedlinePlus Mobile by the NIH: Browse health information, find important drug information, and explore health topics in English or Spanish from your mobile device. (mobile Web)

MyFood-a-Pedia by the USDA: This is the first tool of its kind from USDA that utilizes mobile technology to educate and empower consumers to make healthful food decisions! At a time when many Americans aren’t getting enough of each food group and are challenged with achieving a healthy weight, MyFood-A-Pedia is a mobile tool to provide consumers quick access to nutrition information for over 1,000 foods. MyFood-a-pedia includes: calorie amounts, contribution of a food to the five food groups, and number of “extra” calories in a fod from solid fats, added sugars, and alcohol. (mobile Web)

UV Index by the EPA: Use your mobile device to check the UV Index and air quality ratings wherever you are. (Android, BlackBerry, mobile Web)

For more, visit the USA.Gov app store here