Health Influencers- Social Media and Your Health

Updated: Mar 27, 2020

Your friends certainly influence your health choices.  And since we spend more time now with our social media friends than our real life friends, your social media browsing is also influencing your health.  What you eat, what kinds of workouts you do, what kind of supplements your try and much more can be shaped by what you see on IG, Facebook and Twitter. It can help your health if you use it well.  Today we are talking about how to use social media for the good of your health and how to avoid letting social media hurt your health.

Here’s a little sciency research: British researchers asked 400 college students to estimate how much fruit, veggies, snacks and sugary drinks their Facebook friends ate each day.  Those participants who believed their Facebook friends ate the recommended five daily portions of fruits and vegetables in turn ate one extra serving. They also had an extra portion of unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks for every three portions they believed their online friends had.  This small study showed our food choices might be influenced more by our social media friends than we realize. This is great news if the people you follow post about healthy eating and give you recipe ideas. It’s not so great if you have a goal to eat healthy and most of your friends post weekend pizza runs and boozing. 

So while the studies on social media influence are going on, here are some things you can do now to use social media to benefit your health:

  1. Follow people who inspire you to change. 

  2. Follow healthy eating and exercise pages that you like. 

  3. Unfollow pages that do the opposite- those that are uninspiring, and those that don’t help you. 

  4. Health apps often use social engagement as a tool to stay accountable and keep you interested in the app. 

Here are a few key things to avoid doing because you saw it on social media or read it online.  

  1. Taking misinformation and believing it because it sounds good. Like eating frozen lemons to cure diabetes or apple cider vinegar to cure everything.  The problem happens when someone stops taking a medication or takes less of it and opts for one of these types of home remedies. In certain cases this could be very dangerous.

  2. Skipping month to month from one health trend to the next.  Sure some of these trends might be good for you but with so many being pushed on social, it’s easy to get caught up in it and not really give one thing a consistent try.  Do some research before you jump in. This can also lead to yo-yo dieting and hurt metabolism in the long run.  

  3. Ads versus articles.  Marketers have figured out that if it looks like an article or study, people believe it.  A lot of ads on Facebook look like legit articles but once you read half of it you see “for $59.99 you can have this miracle herb.  Click here."  Be a savvy reader and read between the lines before you click. 

Listen to this full episode here, plus a worth it or waste on expensive olive oils.