Junk food is king on social networks, according to a study | The life


When celebrities post pictures of what they eat, they tend to choose foods and drinks with poor nutritional properties. ― Photo Shutterstock

NEW YORK, January 22 ― When celebrities post meals or snacks on the Instagram social network, they are usually foods or drinks considered unhealthy, reports an American study.

When it comes to food, celebrities are likely to highlight junk food on their social media accounts, says a US study published in the Jama network. The researchers behind this study attempted to assess the nutritional quality of foods and beverages that appear in celebrity posts.

“Little is known about the foods and drinks posted on social media by popular actors and actresses, athletes, and musical artists,” the study authors explain. “Research describing food and drink on social media has primarily focused on brand accounts.”

For this research, Professor Bradley Turnwald and his colleagues focused on Instagram, which allows photos and videos to be posted. “We focused on this platform because it’s image-driven, with over 500 million daily active users, 72% of them teens in the US, and a big celebrity presence,” they said. the researchers pointed out.

To carry out their work, the researchers analyzed the accounts of 181 celebrities. Profiles ranged from athletes and actors to “television personalities” and musicians. The specialists collected the data between May 2019 and March 2020. A total of 5180 products were evaluated. Brand-sponsored posts have been differentiated from other posts.

To measure nutritional quality, the researchers relied on a nutritional profile index. This NPI generates a score from 0 to 100 (a score of 0 indicates the least healthy and 100 the most healthy). It is determined based on the content of sugar, sodium, energy, saturated fat, fibre, protein and fruits and/or vegetables. Foods with a score lower than 64 and drinks with a score lower than 70 are considered “less healthy”.

Sweets and alcohol make frequent appearances

So what did they find? Snacks, sweets and alcoholic beverages were the most common types of food to make appearances in social media posts by highly-followed celebrities, the researchers found. More than 87% of these accounts had posts containing “less healthy” food or drink.

Additionally, 95% of these posts were not sponsored by brands. “These findings suggest that influential representations of unhealthy food and drink consumption on social media may be a sociocultural issue that extends beyond advertisements and sponsorships, reinforcing unhealthy consumption norms,” concluded the study. Researchers hope celebrities will help promote a healthier lifestyle in the future. ― Studio ETX


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