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Adolescents' communication of high calorie low nutrient food items in image-based social media

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Christopher Holmberg
John Chaplin
Thomas Hillman
Christina Berg
Publicerad i European Obesity Summit 2016 Abstract Book, a supplement of Obesity Facts
Volym 9
Nummer/häfte 9(suppl 1) VIII + 368
Sidor 25
ISBN 978-3-318-05895-6
ISSN 1662-4025
Publiceringsår 2016
Publicerad vid Institutionen för pedagogik, kommunikation och lärande
Institutionen för kliniska vetenskaper, Avdelningen för pediatrik
Institutionen för kost- och idrottsvetenskap
Sidor 25
Språk en
Länkar www.obesity-summit.eu/mobile/4_june...
Ämnesord Adolescents, eHealth literacy, Food presentation, Instagram, Obesogenic environment
Ämneskategorier Hälsovetenskaper, Näringslära, Folkhälsovetenskap, global hälsa, socialmedicin och epidemiologi, Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap, Mänsklig interaktion med IKT


Rationale: Adolescents today use social media applications extensively and research demonstrates that peers in social media settings can influence adolescents regarding their food intake. These newly emerged channels also offer unique possibilities to observe adolescents’ dietary communication. Objective: This study aimed to explore how adolescents communicate food images in a widely used social media image-sharing application, Instagram. Methods: To find adolescent Instagram users we searched for images appended with the hashtag #14år (Swedish for “14 years”). The hashtag had been applied to 3479 images as of March 2014. However, as users change their privacy settings, delete their accounts, or change their user names, 1358 images were not retrievable. Users sometimes also applied the hashtag to several images, and we excluded accounts that we judged did not belong to adolescents (based on written and visual profile information); 1001 unique Instagram users’ photo streams were thus eligible for analysis. Content analysis was used to identify food items and categorize these based on types of food and how the food items were presented. Results: Most of the adolescent users (85 %) shared images containing food items. A majority of the images (67.7%) depicted foods high in calories but low in nutrients. Almost half of these images were arranged as a still life with food brand names clearly exposed. Many of these images were influenced by major food marketing campaigns. Fruits and vegetables only occurred in 21.8% of all images. This food group was frequently portrayed zoomed in with focus solely on the food, with a hashtag or caption expressing palatability. These images were often presented in the style of a cook book. Conclusions: Food was presented in varied ways. Adolescents themselves produced images copying food advertisements. This has clear health promotion implications since it becomes more challenging to monitor and tackle exposure to marketing of unhealthy foods to young people in these popular online networks because images are part of a lifestyle that the young people want to promote. Shared images contain personal recommendations, which mean that they may have a more powerful effect than commercial food advertising. Acknowledgements: This study was supported by grants from Formas - The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (grant number 259-2012-38). We would also like to affirm our respect for Instagram users and their publically shared images which made it possible for us to conduct this research.

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