Fitness-related posts can impact others as well, says a study by researchers at the University of Arizona and Texas State University. A new study suggests that when people post photos of their fitness regimen on social media they may be influencing for better or worse, the health of their friends too.
According to the researchers, the more the number of fitness of exercise-related posts people find on their social media feed, the more concerned they feel about their own weight.
Study Stephen Rains, Associate Professor at the University of Arizona, US, said, “Our results were mixed. Good can come out of this, in the sense that it can make some people more interested in exercising and feel better about exercising, but it might make other people feel worse about themselves if they are more concerned with their weight.”
For the research, 232 participants were asked to log into their favorite social media site and look at the past 30 days worth of posts from their friends.
During the study the researcher asked participants to count how many of the posts — photos or text – represented their friends engaging in exercise.
Then the researchers asked them some questions about how they perceived themselves and their bodies after the activity. As a part of these questionnaires, the participants measured their general attitudes about exercise and the level of concern about their weight. The researchers also studied also their upward or downward social comparison.
Their results found that social media impacts self-esteem and further research is required. The research study was published in the journal Health Communication.