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Transl Behav Med. 2017 Mar;7(1):84-91. doi: 10.1007/s13142-016-0429-1.

Weight loss support seeking on twitter: the impact of weight on follow back rates and interactions.

Author information

1
Division of Preventative and Behavioral Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA, 01655, USA. Christine.May@umassmed.edu.
2
Division of Epidemiology of Chronic Diseases and Vulnerable Populations, Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA. Christine.May@umassmed.edu.
3
Division of Epidemiology of Chronic Diseases and Vulnerable Populations, Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA.
4
Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA.
5
Division of Addiction, Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, USA.
6
Division of Preventative and Behavioral Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA, 01655, USA.
7
Division of Medical Toxicology, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA.

Abstract

People seek weight loss support on online social networks, but little is known about how to build a supportive community. We created four Twitter accounts portraying women interested in weight loss (two obese, two normal weight/overweight) and followed health care professional and peer accounts for 2-5 weeks. We examined follow back rates, interactions, and organic follows from professionals and peers by weight status. Follow back rates did not differ by weight status when following professionals (6.8 % normal weight/overweight vs 11.0 % for obese; p = 0.4167) or peers (6.7 % for normal weight/overweight vs 10.8 % for obese; p = 0.1548). Number of interactions and organic followers also did not differ by weight status. Peers interacted with study accounts significantly more than professionals (p = 0.0138), but interactions were infrequent. Women seeking weight loss support on Twitter may need to be present for more than 5 weeks to build an interactive weight loss community.

KEYWORDS:

Obesity; Peer-to-peer healthcare; Social media; Twitter

PMID:
27443643
PMCID:
PMC5352642
DOI:
10.1007/s13142-016-0429-1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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