Health and fitness online communities: do they change our habits?

In a post a while back, I was telling you about a research project initiated by one of my students. The subject was Instagram and how health and fitness communities on this platforms impacted young people’s behaviours and attitudes toward heath.

Thanks the active help of many respondents, the study is now over and has just been accepted for publication in the Journal of Product and Brand Management. Kudos to the research team! The key results of the project, surveying over 200 Instagram users, are:

  • Participating in an online community about health and fitness increases users’ attitudes, interest and sensitivity to health-related issues. It makes them search more information about health.
  • As a result, they tend to be more active physically, and engage in sports practice more often
  • Participation in the community also positively impacts their choice of healthy products (healthy snacks, fruits, smoothies bowls such as below).

To sum up, being part of an Instagram community about health and fitness¬†tends to have a positive impact on one’s attitude and behaviour regarding health-issues and consumption.¬†This can be done simply by following or interacting with specific hashtags (e.g. #fitfam, #healthyfood, #fitness)

While social media can have this positive impact, I also develop in this article in The Conversation, how they should be taken with a pinch of salt. They are not always a 100% positive, especially for young adults!

Like in health and sports, it’s all about balance.

To find out more about the research publication, read here.



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