Social media ‘likes’ found to positively influence healthy food choices

Social media'likes' found to positively influence healthy food choices
Credit score: DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2021.105424

Social media customers who view photographs of wholesome meals which were closely endorsed with ‘likes’ usually tend to make more healthy meals decisions, a brand new examine has discovered.

The analysis, by psychologists from Aston College’s School of Well being and Life Sciences, discovered that examine individuals who seen extremely preferred mock Instagram posts of fruit and greens ate a considerably larger proportion of grapes than cookies, with consumption of grapes growing by 14 % extra energy, in comparison with those that seen extremely preferred excessive calorie meals.

The examine, which is printed within the scientific journal Urge for food, investigated the acute impact of socially endorsed social media posts on individuals’ consuming habits. The 169 individuals, who had a median age of 21 years outdated (however complete ages throughout the group ranged from 18 to 48), had been requested to have a look at mock Instagram posts of several types of meals, that both had a number of or a number of ‘likes,” and later given entry to grapes and cookies to eat.

In addition to viewing photographs of fruit and greens, individuals additionally checked out much less nutritious meals akin to desserts and biscuits, and non-food photographs akin to fashionable inside designs. Nevertheless, the researchers discovered that the individuals went on to eat a bigger proportion of grapes after viewing extremely preferred photographs of fruit and greens, in comparison with the opposite photographs.

Aston College psychology Ph.D. scholar Lily Hawkins, who led the examine alongside supervisor Dr. Jason Thomas, mentioned:

“The findings of the examine recommend that not solely publicity to wholesome meals photographs on social media, however these which can be additionally closely endorsed with ‘likes,” could nudge folks to decide on to eat extra wholesome meals, rather than much less nutritious meals.”

“What we see others approve of consuming and put up about consuming on social media can have an effect on our precise consuming habits and will lead to a larger consumption of more healthy meals and snacks.”

“One cause for this can be as a result of pondering that others ‘like’ and eat fruit and greens nudges individuals to change their habits with the intention to slot in with what they understand to be the norm.”

The newest figures from the NHS’s Well being Survey for England confirmed that in 2018 solely 28 % of adults had been consuming the advisable 5 parts of fruit and greens per day. In Wales, this was 24 %, in Scotland 22 % and in Northern Eire round 20 %. Youngsters and young people throughout the UK had even decrease ranges of fruit and vegetable consumption.

The examine findings recommend that social media could possibly be utilized in future as a approach to encourage more healthy consuming—by encouraging customers to comply with extra social media accounts which have extremely preferred nutritionally balanced posts, additionally containing more healthy meals.

The researchers mentioned the following stage of their work will trial an intervention utilizing actual Instagram accounts, to check whether or not asking folks to actively comply with extra social media accounts posting photographs of extremely preferred nutritionally wealthy meals, can encourage folks to eat extra fruit and greens over a sustained time frame.

Professor Claire Farrow, director of Aston College’s Utilized Well being Analysis Group, whose work has contributed to the nationwide Youngster Feeding Information useful resource, added:

“We all know that social interactions can strongly form what, when and the way a lot we eat. These findings spotlight the vital function that social media has in shaping these influences on-line.”

“The findings recommend that individuals don’t merely passively view details about what different persons are consuming on-line, however that this digital data can form our meals preferences and decisions, significantly once we suppose numerous different folks like sure meals. It’s promising that publicity to wholesome meals, and likes of these meals, was associated to larger consumption of wholesome meals.”

“Additional analysis is required to discover whether or not and the way these findings could be translated into digital interventions to assist assist people who wish to make more healthy food decisions, and to grasp how social media platforms can be utilized as a instrument to assist wholesome consuming habits.”

Social media users ‘copy’ friends’ eating habits

Extra data:
Lily Hawkins et al, Does publicity to socially endorsed meals photographs on social media affect meals consumption?, Urge for food (2021). DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2021.105424

Offered by
Aston University

Social media ‘likes’ discovered to positively affect wholesome meals decisions (2021, September 24)
retrieved 26 September 2021

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