Online Program

Social Media use for weight management: Impact of self-regulatory behavior

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Priya Nambisan, PhD, Department of Health Informatics and Administration, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI
Background: Young adults use social media such as Twitter and Facebook to help with weight management. There have been studies that have looked into using social media as an intervention, primarily, by delivering health messages that focus on weight management and as a means for social support. However social media use for weight management can be more than just social support, it could be individual characteristics such as self-regulatory processes (self-control) that is getting them to use social media for weight management.

Objective: The objective of this study is to understand the impact of self-regulatory processes on actual implementation of weight management behaviors such as diet and exercise.

Method: Participants were asked to fill out an online survey on Facebook use. They were primarily college students who were active in Facebook or Twitter. There were 2 questionnaires – one for Facebook users and one for Twitter users. Data was collected for self–regulatory behaviors, specifically on two variables from a previously validated self-regulatory questionnaire (SRQ)– Evaluation and Searching. Evaluation indicated an external feedback need and searching indicated a need for external help and support to modify behavior. Data was also collected on the frequency, tenure, type of friends, and number of friends. Data was analyzed using simple regression.

Results: Preliminary results show that self-regulatory behaviors do impact the actual implementation of weight management behaviors. Study findings are expected to hold important implications for public health, as social media is one of the most effective and efficient ways to reach our youth.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe how social media can be used to intervene in weight management programs for young adults. Discuss the key challenges and issues of social media usage among young adults. Assess the implications of social media usage for public health.

Keyword(s): Social Media, Weight Management

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have done extensive research in the field of social media and health and have several journal publications and conference presentations in this area. I am a faculty in the Department of Health Informatics and Administration at the College of Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and I am also the Director of Social Media and Health Research and Training Lab at UWM.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.