Healthy eating social media accounts influence diet choices

Researchers from Aston University have found that folks adhering to nutritious having accounts on social media for as small as two months ate far more fruit and greens and much less junk foods.

Past research has shown that favourable social norms about fruit and vegetables raises individuals’ use. The investigate group sought to examine whether good representation of healthier food stuff on social media would have the identical effect. The research was led by Dr Lily Hawkins, whose PhD examine it was, supervised by Dr. Jason Thomas and Professor Claire Farrow in the School of Psychology.

The researchers recruited 52 volunteers, all social media end users, with a imply age of 22, and break up them into two groups. Volunteers in the initially group, regarded as the intervention team, ended up asked to observe balanced taking in Instagram accounts in addition to their standard accounts. Volunteers in the 2nd group, identified as the command group, have been asked to adhere to interior design accounts. The experiment lasted two weeks, and the volunteers recorded what they ate and drank during the time interval.

Total, members following the healthful consuming accounts ate an additional 1.4 parts of fruit and veggies per day and .8 less vitality dense objects, this kind of as significant-calorie treats and sugar-sweetened drinks, for every working day. This is a substantial enhancement as opposed to earlier academic and social media-dependent interventions trying to make improvements to diet plans.

Dr Thomas and the team think affiliation is a vital ingredient of the improve in eating behavior. For example, the influence was much more pronounced among individuals who felt affiliated with other Instagram users.

The 2018 NHS Overall health Study for England study confirmed that only 28% of the Uk inhabitants eaten the advised 5 portions of fruit and veggies per day. Very low consumption of these foods is connected to heart sickness, most cancers and stroke, so figuring out methods to motivate increased consumption is crucial. Exposing persons to beneficial social norms, applying posters in canteens encouraging vegetable use, or in bars to discourage risky levels of consuming, have been shown to operate. Social media is so widespread now that the researchers believe that it could be an excellent way to spread optimistic social norms all around substantial fruit and vegetable consumption, particularly amongst young individuals.


This is only a pilot intervention review at the moment, but it truly is fairly an interesting suite of results, as it implies that even some minor tweaks to our social media accounts might guide to significant enhancements in food plan, at zero price! Our future work will study no matter whether these interventions actually do change our perceptions of what other folks are consuming, and also, irrespective of whether these interventions develop outcomes that are sustained around time.”


Dr. Jason Thomas, School of Psychology


Dr Hawkins, who is now at the College of Exeter, stated:

“Our earlier study has demonstrated that social norms on social media may nudge food items usage, but this pilot demonstrates that this translates to the real earth. Of course, we would like to now understand irrespective of whether this can be replicated in a much larger, community sample.”


Journal reference:

Hawkins, L., et al. (2024) Can social media be utilised to increase fruit and vegetable usage? A pilot intervention research. Digital Wellbeing.