Social Media and Obesity in Adults: a Review of Recent Research and Future Directions
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Purpose of Review
Social media is widely used and has potential to connect adults with obesity with information and social support for weight loss and to deliver lifestyle interventions. The purpose of this review is to summarize recent observational and intervention research on social media and obesity.
Online patient communities for weight loss abound but may include misinformation. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses suggest that social media-delivered lifestyle interventions modestly impact weight, yet how social media was used and participant engagement varies widely.
The rapidly changing social media landscape poses challenges for patients, clinicians, and researchers. Research is needed on how patients can establish supportive communities for weight loss and the role of clinicians in these communities. Emerging research on meaningful engagement in, and the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of, social media-delivered lifestyle interventions should provide insights into how to leverage social media to address the obesity epidemic.
KeywordsObesity Weight loss Social media Social networking Facebook Twitter
Partial support provided by NIH grants K24HL124366 (SLP) and R25CA172009 (DJS).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Molly E. Waring, Danielle E. Jake-Schoffman, Marta M. Holovatska, Claudia Mejia, and Jamasia C. Williams declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Sherry L. Pagoto reports personal fees from Fitbit.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
All reported studies/experiments with human or animal subjects performed by the authors have been previously published and complied with all applicable ethical standards (including the Helsinki declaration and its amendments, institutional/national research committee standards, and international/national/institutional guidelines).
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance
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