Tweet for health: using an online social network to examine temporal trends in weight loss-related posts
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Few studies have used social networking sites to track temporal trends in health-related posts, particularly around weight loss. To examine the temporal relationship of Twitter messages about weight loss over 1 year (2012). Temporal trends in #weightloss mentions and #fitness, #diet, and #health tweets which also had the word “weight” in them were examined using three a priori time periods: (1) holidays: pre-winter holidays, holidays, and post-holidays; (2) Season: winter and summer; and (3) New Year’s: pre-New Year’s and post-New Year’s. Regarding #weightloss, there were 145 (95 % CI 79, 211) more posts/day during holidays and 143 (95 % CI 76, 209) more posts/day after holidays as compared to 480 pre-holiday posts/day; 232 (95 % CI 178, 286) more posts/day during the winter versus summer (441 posts/day); there was no difference in posts around New Year’s. Examining social networks for trends in health-related posts may aid in timing interventions when individuals are more likely to be discussing weight loss.
KeywordsSocial support Informatics Weight loss Exercise Social networks
This study was funded by internal start-up funding to the lead author (GTM). The funders played no role in the design, conduct, or analysis of the study, nor in the interpretation and reporting of the study findings. The researchers were independent from the funders. All authors had full access to all of the data (including statistical reports and tables) in the study and can take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.
Conflict of interest and adherence to ethical principles statement
GTM and MWB have no conflicts of interest to declare. All procedures, including the informed consent process, were conducted in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000.
This study was funded by internal start-up funding to the lead author (GTM).
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