Having a Twitter Account Helps People Lose Weight

Twitter doubles as a support system for those going on a diet, study finds

By on January 14th, 2013 20:51 GMT

After looking into how successful a group made up of 96 overweight and obese men and women were in terms of sticking to their diets over a period of six months, a team of specialists working with the University of South Carolina's Arnold School of Public Health reached the conclusion that those who had an active Twitter account lost more weight than the ones who did not.

Specialists believe that Twitter's ability to help people lose weight comes as a result of its doubling as a support system for those who go on a diet.

In other words, status updates posted on this website allowed the volunteers who took part in this research to share both information concerning how well each of them was doing, and encouragements.

According to Newswise, the researchers who put together this study have explained their findings as follows:

“Traditional behavioral weight loss interventions generally provide social support through weekly, face-to-face group meetings. While we know this is effective, it is costly and can create a high degree of burden on participants.”

“Providing group support through online social networks can be a low cost way to reach a large number of people who are interested in achieving a healthy weight,” they went on to add.

Throughout the course of these six months of dieting, the overweight and obese people who volunteered for this study uploaded a total of 2.630 Twitter posts. 

Of these, 75% were purely informational, meaning that the user wished to let its followers know what he/she ate throughout the course of one day and what dishes he/she managed to keep away from.

Several other posts were meant to provide emotional support (6.6%) and compliments (4.6%).

“The results show that those who regularly utilized Twitter as part of a mobile weight loss program lost more weight,” the specialists concluded.

The funding needed to carry out this research was provided by the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center Population Sciences Award and the UNC Interdisciplinary Obesity Center.

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