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 Obese individuals are the most likely to engage with healthy food posts.

example of healthy food posts on instagram
 Findings of a Study conducted evaluating the correlation of BMI and interaction with healthy food posts on social media found that obese individuals were the most likely to engage with the posts, while it may not reflect their eating habits.




Social Media is becoming increasingly populated with images of food, and Obesity rates are steadily increasing.                                       

13% of users have posted a picture of food to their account in the last month. 60% of posts on pintrest are food related. 49% of users have learned about food through social media, and 9% have downloaded a mobile food app. Food photography is often used to glamorize food, without detailing the consequences of  excess consumption.

More than 1/3 of  people are considered obese. People are spending more time looking at foods, and less time paying attention to foods consumed. There is growing evidence that healthy food cues on TV have significant impact on eating behaviors, especially for those trying to lose weight, or who need to lose weight.

The study was designed in order to evaluate whether social media food posts caused subjects to exert similar positive change behavior. Social Media allows people to show what they want and hide what they don't want to be seen. For instance people hide what is seen as socially undesirable such as being overweight. Overweight people may engage in posts that show healthy food choices. Obese people generally portray a positive false self, so this study analyzed if higher BMI leads to more positive social media activity towards healthy food posts.

video
Photo showing one of the many instagram pages of healthy food choices.

Experiment Tested the effect BMI had on the engagement in social media involving healthy food choices.

Post for high activity had 105 likes and positive comments, post for low activity had no likes or comments. Participants grouped into three groups based on BMI,  normal weight, overweight, and obese. 384 Participants, all were asked to pretend they were scrolling through their instagram page and came across the photo of the black bean burger which they were presented, and to read all the comments related to the image.

After reading the comments, the subjects were asked to rate social media behavioral intentions in response to the post, and the degree to which they found it believable, they also reported their health consciousness and weight/height. Study found a negative correlation between health consciousness and BMI, however health consciousness was insignificant to the dependent variable. normal weight people were more prone to like a healthy food post, however higher BMI users were more likely to engage in the post via comments,  and following the source.

The subjects had five choices to select from while viewing the photo.The options were  I would like, I would share, I would comment, I would follow the restaurant from the post, or I would view other posts from this restaurant on my social media account.




The study shows As BMI Increases so does  the likelihood to engage in social media activity that reflects healthy food choices.

over-weight consumers desire to engage with social media maybe for the purpose of expressing, presenting, and identifying with a healthy lifestyle. The results of the study showed obese individuals are more likely to engage with healthy food posts compared with their normal weight and overweight counterparts.

Obese people were most likely to comment or follow the restaurant from the post.The effect was even more pronounced when posts were absent of prior social media activity. Based on the results obese or overweight individuals are encouraged to establish social media connections with others who post healthy foods as it will have a positive influence on their diet and BMI.

Graph showing correlation between BMI and engagement on healthy food posts

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