NYC government creates app for healthy eating

By Aditi Pai

CalCutterThe New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released a health app last week for residents to use while cooking. The city reports 60 percent of adults and 40 percent of children are obese or overweight.

“Many people want to count calories as a way to avoid gaining weight, but they have no way of knowing how many calories are in restaurant food or even food they prepare themselves,” Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said . “CalCutter is a free, simple tool to help cooks figure out how many calories their recipes deliver. We encourage both restaurant cooks and home cooks to use this tool and prepare food with calorie counts that fit into a healthy diet.”

CalCutter allows the user to enter a recipe and will estimate the number of calories in the dish. The app can then use ingredient suggestions to convert the recipe into a healthier dish, which can be saved and emailed. This feature was added in partnership with celebrity chef and New York Times bestselling author Rocco DiSpirito. The  for free on iOS and Android and also on the web.

The app has a database of more than 400 recipe ingredients with their calorie counts determined by the USDA. The improved recipe that CalCutter generates for users is based on a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet.

Other NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene apps in the Apple App store include ABCEats, which finds restaurant grades and detailed inspection reports for each of the city's 24,000 restaurants, and Teens in NYC Protection+, which offers a search engine for teens to find contraception and access sexual health information services. The sexual health app also offers teens informational videos and where to go in the five boroughs for free services.

Earlier this month, the Alabama Department of Public Health became the first state health department to launch a mobile app. The app is available for free on iOS and Android and offers users public health information and updates.