Study reveals that most information on social media about diet & fitness are false
The social media has become the go-to place where anyone can post whatever he/she feels like, and the painful thing is that it spreads like wild fire, passing wrong information to the public.
According to research, if you are trying to lose weight, it is advisable that you steer clear from the so-called social media influencers because majority of their diet fix are false.
A team of researchers from the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom discovered that out of nine UK bloggers in the weight management niche, only one takes out time to ensure that the information being disseminated is accurate and trustworthy. What makes it more worrisome is that these bloggers are considered “Top Bloggers”.
This is not a mere speculation…
Health researchers took out time to study top bloggers in the UK with followers of at least 80,000 in a single social media platform such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. They found out that the majority of the information on the weight management blogs were not verifiable.
If this could be true for top bloggers, then definitely, virtually all other “small” bloggers follow suit because they mainly depend on the top guys in the niche.
According to a top author, Christina Sabbagh, “we discovered that most blogs in the weight management niches are not reliable because they present mere opinions as facts. This is below the bear minimum of the UK nutritional standard.
“The fact that these blogs reach out to a large number of audiences makes it potentially harmful.”
Although there was no need to mention any names among the top bloggers, the analysis was based on content published by nine top influencers between May and June 2018. 12 criteria were used to judge these blogs and only one influencer passed the credibility test.
Among the factors that were used by the researchers to ascertain claims made by the influencers in the health and diet niche include trustworthiness, transparency, nutritional soundness and references to back their claim. They also checked if they were biased in the articles they posted online.
To pass this test, you need to score at least 70%, but unfortunately the pass mark was difficult to achieve.
Another thing that was examined was food recipes. Things like carbohydrate, fat, protein, salt content, energy content, fiber and sugar were considered.
A conference held at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Glasgow, United Kingdom, revealed that most of the bloggers could not meet the fundamental criteria.
While some were unable to provide any credible evidence, others considered mere opinions as facts and some failed to state a disclaimer. This is a serious issue that needs to be looked at because lots of persons are at risk with all these unverifiable facts.
Out of all the blogs that gave nutritional advice, only one was able to pass the test with a score of 75%. This one was found to be a registered nutritionist with a certificate to show for it. The least score was 25%, and it goes to an influencer that has no nutritional qualifications of whatsoever.
The conclusion drawn from the author was that most of the social media influencers in the diet and fitness niches don’t provide credible information to the public. Since the role of social media in rendering advice to obese patient is very popular, all influencers need to meet medical and scientific requirements in order to be able to provide online advice on weight management.
The Chairman of National Obesity Forum, Tam Fry said that this finding just shows us the destructive power social media has on the public. Anybody with no iota of knowledge about a subject can post on social media and his followers will swallow it hook, line and sinker.
He continued by saying that it will also become impossible for these influencers to conform to the desired standard because followers are not ready to change their mind on what they have believed to be true.
Although these bloggers have the right to freedom of speech, they must understand that junk articles about weight management is not acceptable.
Do you agree to this claim by the researchers that majority of the online advice on weight management is false? Share your opinion or experience in the comment section below.
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