Translational Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 355–362 | Cite as

Varying social media post types differentially impacts engagement in a behavioral weight loss intervention

  • Sarah B. Hales
  • Charis Davidson
  • Gabrielle M. Turner-McGrievy
Original Research


The purpose of this study was to examine whether different types of posts differentially affect participant engagement and if engagement with social media enhances weight loss. Data are a subanalysis from a randomized weight loss study with a 4-month follow-up support period via private Facebook groups and monthly meetings. Counselors posted five different post types/week based on social cognitive theory (weight-related, recipes, nutrition information, poll votes, or requests for suggestions). Types of participant engagement (likes, comments/poll votes, and views) were assessed. Poll votes were the most engaging (mean number of votes or comments/poll 14.6 ± 3.4, P < 0.01) followed by suggestions (9.1 ± 2.7 posts, P < 0.01) and weight-related posts (7.4 ± 3.1 posts, P < 0.01). Engagement with Facebook was significantly associated with weight loss during the 4-month maintenance period (B = −0.09, P = 0.04). The findings provide evidence for ways to provide social support during weight loss interventions using remote methodology.


Social support Weight loss mHealth Social media eHealth 


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Copyright information

© Society of Behavioral Medicine 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah B. Hales
    • 1
  • Charis Davidson
    • 1
  • Gabrielle M. Turner-McGrievy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, Arnold School of Public HealthUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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