STATES CHRONICLE – The National Institute of Health has provided researchers with half a million dollars to analyze which are the popular foods promoted on social media accounts. The intention was to conduct a study based on American’s food preferences. The research project “HashtagHealth” was sponsored with $721,825 by NIH. The study was carried out by a team of experts at the University of Utah. “HashtagHealth” was meant to organize a database in which posts about food were gathered, determining health surveys to become easier.
Starting with March 2015 up until April 2016, the team of specialists has managed to collect almost 80 million posts on Twitter from approximately 603,363 users. After conducting the study and analyzing the photos, scientists have revealed that the most popular foods on social media accounts are beer and coffee. The study was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
All the information gathered by the researchers could be useful in determining what particular neighborhoods think about food. When looking at the geotagged Twitter posts, specialists have unveiled that low-income areas have the tendency of promoting negative ideas about food. Also, neighborhoods which were crowded with fast-food restaurants were tweeting about fast foods.
From all the data which was inferred, only five percent of the posts were about food and two per cent were promoting physical exercises. Researchers alert the public by arguing that not all their data is representative when it comes to nutritional attitude. They cannot possibly verify if the food which was captured in a photo was indeed consumed or not. What is more, we also need to consider that persons usually post content which makes them comfortable to publish. The images don’t necessarily reveal the reality or the feelings about their experiences.
Regarding the fact that there is a top of foods on everybody’s list, people tend to post tweets about those particular meals, without automatically consuming them. The collected data does not reflect reality 100%. Researchers did not find ways of proving the truth value of those pictures. For example, the number of tweets with cupcakes is far more increased than the tweets containing celery or other vegetables.
This idea reflects people are promoting unhealthy foods more than the healthy meals. But 250,000 posts mentioned coffee and beer got referred to in only 200,000 images. Ice cream and tacos were mentioned in 75,000 posts. Bacon was in 50,000 pictures and salad only in 30,000.
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