Title

A Content Analysis of Pinterest Belly Fat Loss Exercises: Unrealistic Expectations and Misinformation

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-2-2020

Subject Area

ARRAY(0x55c8268c3458)

Abstract

Background: Pinterest has changed the way we seek and share health information with more than 300 million active users. Nearly 40% of Americans are obese and seek fast, easy weight loss solutions online despite evidence that diet and physical activity are the only effective ways to manage weight. Purpose: This study used content analysis to examine how exercises to reduce belly fat were portrayed on Pinterest, a social media website used to bookmark online content. Methods: Using search terms belly fat exercises and belly fat workouts, researchers sampled Pinterest pins to collect 234 relevant pins. A codebook was developed, tested, and used to code pins. Results: Of the 234 pins, the majority of pins highlighted being thinner (73.1%) rather than overall health (9.4%). Pins were primarily geared toward women (70%) with nearly half of the pins depicting women in sports bras (52.9%) with swimsuit model figures (48.7%); and 18% of the pins showed signs of photo edits. Discussion: Social media is a powerful source of health information. However, there is evidence of misleading weight loss, specifically belly fat loss strategies being promoted. Translation to Health Education Practice: Health educators need to develop social media campaigns to promote positive body image with realistic weight loss strategies.

Publication Title

American Journal of Health Education

Volume

51

Issue

5

First Page

328

Last Page

337

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1080/19325037.2020.1795754

ISSN

19325037

E-ISSN

21683751

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