A recent study has suggested that people tend to consume more of either healthy or junk foods after being influenced by their social media friends. Generally people post about their eating habits into their social media accounts and it attracts to their social media friends.
On the other hand, Facebook users were found to consume an extra portion of unhealthy snack foods and sugary drinks for every three portions they believed their online social circles did. The findings suggested that people eat around a third more junk food if they think their friends also indulge in the same.
The Aston University researchers said the findings provide the first evidence to suggest our online social circles could be implicitly influencing our eating habits, with important implications for using ‘nudge’ techniques on social media to encourage healthy eating.
With children and young people spending a huge amount of time interacting with social media friends and influencers via social media, the important new findings from this study could help shape how we deliver interventions that help them adopt healthy eating habits from a young age and stick with them for life.
The promotion of positive health messages across social media, which are focused on promoting healthy choices and non-restrictive relationships with food and body, could nudge people into making positive decisions around the food they eat.