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article imageSocial media can help people lose weight

By Tim Sandle     Dec 25, 2017 in Lifestyle
Social media can help with the process of loosing weight, according to a study. This is through the collective triumphs and tribulations of people sharing their weight loss journey.
In a joint sociological study researchers from the University of California, Irvine and The Paul Merage School of Business report how social media can support those seeking to lose weight. Given this time of year is one for over-diligence the research comes at an appropriate time.
The researchers looked at how mutual support from members of an online virtual support community can play an important role in achieving success in relating to diet and weight loss. The focus was with two weight loss groups, both surgical and non-surgical. The groups were studied over a four-year period. Members of both weight loss groups utilized the virtual support communities: ObesityHelp.com and WeightWatchers.com, as part of their programs.
Here, one of the principal researchers, Dr. Tonya Williams Bradford explains: "Our research finds that individuals are more likely to realize success with personal goals when they make a public commitment to attaining them."
The academic adds how this is made possible: "By sharing success and setbacks in virtual support communities on social media, we found people are achieving better results. This works especially well with goals like weight loss, where before and after images can be shared online with other community members."
The study demonstrates how virtual support communities offer a special environment that provides group members with relative anonymity; plus accessibility, availability and flexibility in how they represent themselves on their quests to lose weight.
The sociological research has been published in the journal Journal of Interactive Marketing. The research article is headed "Weight Loss Through Virtual Support Communities: A Role for Identity-based Motivation in Public Commitment."
More about Weight loss, Social media, Diet, Exercise
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