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How Following Healthy Eating Accounts On Social Media Can Improve Your Diet | TheHealthSite.com – TheHealthSite

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How Following Healthy Eating Accounts On Social Media Can Improve Your Diet

The study highlights the potential of social media as a tool for promoting healthier dietary behaviors.



Written by Saumya Pandey |Published : April 25, 2024 12:29 PM IST

Social media has become a pervasive influence in modern society, shaping behaviors and attitudes across various domains, including diet and nutrition. Researchers from Aston University conducted a study to investigate the effects of following healthy eating accounts on social media platforms. Led by Dr. Lily Hawkins and supervised by Dr. Jason Thomas and Professor Claire Farrow, the study recruited 52 social media users with a mean age of 22. Participants were divided into two groups: an intervention group and a control group. The intervention group followed healthy eating Instagram accounts, while the control group followed interior design accounts. The experiment lasted for two weeks, during which participants documented their dietary intake.

Results

Participants who followed healthy eating accounts increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables by an average of 1.4 portions per day. Additionally, they consumed 0.8 fewer energy-dense items, such as high-calorie snacks and sugar-sweetened drinks, per day. These findings indicate a significant improvement in dietary habits compared to previous interventions.

Affiliation And Behavior Change

The research team attributed the observed changes in eating behavior to the sense of affiliation fostered by social media. Participants who felt affiliated with other Instagram users experienced a more pronounced effect. This suggests that social connections on social media platforms play a crucial role in influencing dietary choices.

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Public Health Implications

The study addresses the pressing public health issue of low fruit and vegetable consumption, which is associated with various chronic diseases. With only 28% of the UK population meeting the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables, finding effective strategies to promote healthier eating habits is essential. Social media platforms offer a promising avenue for spreading positive social norms regarding dietary choices, especially among younger demographics.

Future Directions

While the pilot intervention yielded promising results, further research is needed to assess its long-term effectiveness and scalability. Future studies will explore whether interventions targeting social media platforms can sustainably shift perceptions of dietary norms and lead to lasting behavior change.

Conclusion

The study highlights the potential of social media as a tool for promoting healthier dietary behaviors. By leveraging the influence of social networks and positive social norms, interventions on platforms like Instagram can effectively encourage individuals to make healthier food choices. As research in this area continues to evolve, there is hope for scalable interventions that contribute to improved public health outcomes.

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