May 30, 2024

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Do you also find it difficult to eat more fruits and vegetables?  A little scrolling through social media can help

Do you also find it difficult to eat more fruits and vegetables? A little scrolling through social media can help

How healthy can social media be for you? Recent research shows that the answer to this question may be surprising; Sometimes it's that one batch that makes you eat another apple every day.

In recent years, scientists have been able to improve our image of social media. For example, social media is said to make young people less happy with themselves and encourage misinformation and demonization. Scientists have now also revealed a positive effect of social media: if you follow the right calculations, it is possible to adopt a healthier lifestyle. This is clear from a recent study conducted by English scientists Aston University. During this study, scientists discovered that it only took two weeks for participants to start developing healthier lifestyles thanks to social media. Researcher Jason Thomas contributed to the study. “We were able to get a lot of interesting results,” he explains. The results indicate that significant benefits can be achieved with relatively little effort – and all for free! The research has been published in the journal Digital health.

Scientists recruited a total of 52 participants for the study. These participants were divided into two equal groups of 26 people. The first group was asked to follow social media channels on Instagram that focused on healthy eating. The second group was asked to follow media channels that are mainly concerned with interior design. All participants were then asked to track how much they ate and drank daily for two weeks. The average age of participants was 22 years.

There are already a lot of interesting discoveries among the experiment results. For example, the scientists discovered that participants in the first group ate an average of 1.4 additional servings of fruit per day. Not only that, they also ate an average of 0.8 energy-dense snacks, such as high-calorie bars or sweetened beverages.

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Offline vs. online
The study results are important because many people find it difficult to eat enough fruits and vegetables and researchers are keen to find ways to change this. The idea that social media could play a role in this is not new. But previous research has suggested that expressions that are not available online, and especially offline – such as hanging posters in canteens and cafes – can be useful if you want to get people to eat healthier. However, new research has now found evidence that online interventions – which are not so radical and are also free – can have an impact too. However, Thomas stresses that more research is needed. “Our future research will focus on how durable the benefits already found are.” In other words: whether people who follow “healthy” social media accounts also continue to eat healthy in the long term.

Fellow scientist Lily Hawkins also contributed to the study. She concludes: “Previous research has demonstrated that social norms on social media can make people eat differently. This research has shown how this theory eventually translates into practice. Naturally, we would now also like to know how we can imitate this effect.” In a larger group.