A Content Analysis of Pinterest Belly Fat Loss Exercises: Unrealistic Expectations and Misinformation
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.
American Journal of Health Education
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Ashley Dedrick, Julie Williams Merten, Tammy Adams, Meghann Wheeler, Terrell Kassie & Jessica L. King (2020) A Content Analysis of Pinterest Belly Fat Loss Exercises: Unrealistic Expectations and Misinformation, American Journal of Health Education, 51:5, 328-337, DOI: 10.1080/19325037.2020.1795754