According to recent research carried out by the Arnold School of Public Health of the University of Carolina, the use of Twitter and other social media sites could promote increased weight loss. Those taking part in a mobile weight loss programme have an increased likelihood of losing weight than those who shun social media sites. Brie Turner-McGrievy from the Department of Health Promotion, Education and Behaviour at Arnold School, states that the research is the first to examine the impact of social media on weight loss, specifically in the study, Twitter.
The programme studied 96 people who were obese and overweight and taking part in a weight loss campaign using a tablet or smartphone, or other mobile device. Podcasts were received twice a week by half the group, giving advice about setting goals, nutrition and exercise. The other half of the group also downloaded an app to monitor their diet, in addition to a Twitter app. Both groups lost weight during the six month programme, but the group regularly using Twitter and receiving feedback from other participants and a counsellor in weight loss lost significantly more weight. The researchers discovered that 10 posts on Twitter equated to weight loss of 0.5 per cent.
The study indicates the potential of social media sites to positively influence people and could have great significance to companies in the weight loss industry who utilise social media sites in their SEO campaign. Search engine optimisation typically involves Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites.