PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

Aston University research finds that social media can be used to increase fruit and vegetable intake in young people

2024-04-24
(Press-News.org) The research team asked one group of participants to follow healthy eating accounts and another to follow interior design accounts After just two weeks, participants following healthy eating accounts ate more fruit and vegetables and less junk food Even minor tweaks to social media accounts could result in substantial diet improvements in young adults. Researchers from Aston University have found that people following healthy eating accounts on social media for as little as two weeks ate more fruit and vegetables and less junk food.

Previous research has shown that positive social norms about fruit and vegetables increases individuals’ consumption. The research team sought to investigate whether positive representation of healthier food on social media would have the same effect. The research was led by Dr Lily Hawkins, whose PhD study it was, supervised by Dr Jason Thomas and Professor Claire Farrow in the School of Psychology.

The researchers recruited 52 volunteers, all social media users, with a mean age of 22, and split them into two groups. Volunteers in the first group, known as the intervention group, were asked to follow healthy eating Instagram accounts in addition to their usual accounts. Volunteers in the second group, known as the control group, were asked to follow interior design accounts. The experiment lasted two weeks, and the volunteers recorded what they ate and drank during the time period.

Overall, participants following the healthy eating accounts ate an extra 1.4 portions of fruit and vegetables per day and 0.8 fewer energy dense items, such as high-calorie snacks and sugar-sweetened drinks, per day. This is a substantial improvement compared to previous educational and social media-based interventions attempting to improve diets.

Dr Thomas and the team believe affiliation is a key component of the change in eating behaviour. For example, the effect was more pronounced amongst participants who felt affiliated with other Instagram users.

The 2018 NHS Health Survey for England study showed that only 28% of the UK population consumed the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Low consumption of such food is linked to heart disease, cancer and stroke, so identifying ways to encourage higher consumption is vital. Exposing people to positive social norms, using posters in canteens encouraging vegetable consumption, or in bars to discourage dangerous levels of drinking, have been shown to work. Social media is so prevalent now that the researchers believe it could be an ideal way to spread positive social norms around high fruit and vegetable consumption, particularly amongst younger people. 

Dr Thomas said:

“This is only a pilot intervention study at the moment, but it’s quite an exciting suite of findings, as it suggests that even some minor tweaks to our social media accounts might lead to substantial improvements in diet, at zero cost! Our future work will examine whether such interventions actually do change our perceptions of what others are consuming, and also, whether these interventions produce effects that are sustained over time.”

Dr Hawkins, who is now at the University of Exeter, said:

“Our previous research has demonstrated that social norms on social media may nudge food consumption, but this pilot demonstrates that this translates to the real world. Of course, we would like to now understand whether this can be replicated in a larger, community sample.”

Digital Health DOI: 10.1177/20552076241241262

END


ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

A vaccine to fight antibiotic resistance

A vaccine to fight antibiotic resistance
2024-04-24
Driven by the overuse of antimicrobials, pathogens are quickly building up resistances to once-successful treatments. It’s estimated that antimicrobial-resistant infections killed more than 1 million people worldwide in 2019, according to the World Health Organization.    “There are worries that at the rate things are going, in perhaps 20 or 30 years, few of our drugs will be effective at all,” said Xuefei Huang, a Michigan State University Research Foundation Professor in the departments ...

European Hormone Day 2024: Endocrine community unites to raise public awareness and push for policy action on hormone health

European Hormone Day 2024: Endocrine community unites to raise public awareness and push for policy action on hormone health
2024-04-24
European Hormone Day 2024: Endocrine community unites to raise public awareness and push for policy action on hormone health European Hormone Day returns for the third year today, 24 April 2024, putting a spotlight on the vital role of hormones in chronic diseases such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, cancer and obesity, as well as many rare diseases. The European Society of Endocrinology (ESE), the European Hormone and Metabolism Foundation (ESE Foundation), and partners from key groups and organisations across Europe and beyond will join forces to highlight simple steps we can all take towards better hormone health. This builds on the success of the previous ...

Good heart health in middle age may preserve brain function among Black women as they age

2024-04-24
Research Highlights: Middle-aged Black women with better heart health were less likely to show a decline in mental function compared with middle-aged Black women with worse heart health. In this study, heart health was unrelated to cognitive decline among middle-aged white women. A clinical trial is required to confirm if improving heart health among middle-aged Black women may slow cognitive decline and decrease the risk of dementia. Embargoed until 2 a.m. CT/3 a.m. ET Wednesday, April 24, 2024 DALLAS, April 24, 2024 ...

The negative effects of racism impact sleep in adolescents

2024-04-24
Sleep and sleep disturbances have consequences for the development of adolescents and young adults. In a new article, researchers examine sleep during these periods, focusing on the effects of ethnic and racial discrimination. They conclude that improving sleep may boost health for all youth, but especially for those affected by racism. The article, by researchers at Fordham University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, appears in Child Development Perspectives, a journal of the Society for Research in Child Development. “Discrimination ...

Study uses wearable devices to examine 3- to 6-year-olds’ impulsivity, inattentiveness

2024-04-24
Why do some young children struggle to sit through a story one day but not the next? Why do they rush impulsively into one activity but not another? Parents and teachers often focus on individual differences as they prepare children for formal schooling, but traditional measurement approaches make it difficult to study fluctuations in children’s behavior. In a new study, researchers sought to understand children’s impulsive and inattentive behaviors in early education classrooms by having students use wearable devices called accelerometers to collect an intensive time series of their movement at school. The study found that children modulated their ...

Will future hurricanes compromise New England forests’ ability to store and sequester carbon?

2024-04-24
Nature-based climate solutions can help mitigate climate change, especially in forested regions capable of storing and sequestering vast amounts of carbon. New research published in Global Change Biology indicates that a single hurricane in New England, one of the most heavily forested regions in the United States, can down 4.6–9.4% of the total aboveground forest carbon, an amount much greater than the carbon sequestered annually by New England’s forests. The work revealed that emissions from hurricanes are not instantaneous—it takes approximately 19 years for downed carbon to become a net emission, and 100 years for 90% of the downed carbon ...

Longest study to date assesses cognitive impairment over time in adults with essential tremor

2024-04-24
Essential tremor, a nervous system disorder that causes rhythmic shaking, is one of the most common movement disorders. A new study published in the Annals of Neurology reveals details on the increased risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia that individuals with essential tremor may face. The research represents the longest available longitudinal prospective study of rates of MCI and dementia in people with essential tremor. The study enrolled 222 patients, 177 of whom participated in periodic evaluations over an average follow-up of 5 years. Investigators observed ...

Does a woman’s heart health affect cognition in midlife?

2024-04-24
A new study has found that Black women with poor cardiovascular health may face an elevated risk of early signs of cognitive decline in midlife. The study, which is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, included 363 Black and 402 white women who enrolled in the Chicago site of the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation when they were 42–52 years old. Cognition (measured as processing speed and working memory) was assessed annually or biennially over a maximum of 20 years, with an average follow-up of 9.8 years. A composite index of cardiovascular health (Life’s Essential 8) was calculated ...

Unveiling the mysteries of cell division in embryos with timelapse photography

Unveiling the mysteries of cell division in embryos with timelapse photography
2024-04-24
The beginning of life is shrouded in mystery. While the intricate dynamics of mitosis is well-studied in the so-called somatic cells – the cells that have a specialized function, like skin and muscle cells – they remain elusive in the first cells of our bodies, the embryonic cells. Embryonic mitosis is notoriously difficult to study in vertebrates, as live functional analyses and -imaging of experimental embryos are technically limited, which makes it hard to track cells during embryogenesis. However, researchers from the Cell Division Dynamics Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology ...

Survey finds loneliness epidemic runs deep among parents

Survey finds loneliness epidemic runs deep among parents
2024-04-24
COLUMBUS, OHIO – A new national survey conducted by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center finds a broad majority of parents experience isolation, loneliness and burnout from the demands of parenthood, with many feeling a lack of support in fulfilling that role. The survey of parents conducted this month found: About two-thirds (66%) felt the demands of parenthood sometimes or frequently feel isolating and lonely.      About 62% feel burned out by their responsibilities ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

Scientists uncover a multibillion-year epic written into the chemistry of life

Monitoring diseases through sweat becomes accessible to everyone

Mathematical model driven evolutionary therapy dosing exploiting cancer cell plasticity

Biodiversity in the margins: Merging farmlands affects natural pest control

1 in 8 pregnant people have a disability, but significant gaps exist in the provision of accessible care

Statins associated with decreased risk for CVD and death, even in very old adults

Climate change is moving tree populations away from the soil fungi that sustain them

Secrets of sargassum: Scientists advance knowledge of seaweed causing chaos in the Caribbean and West Africa

Bioinformatics approach could help optimize soldiers’ training for improved readiness and recovery

Earth scientists describe a new kind of volcanic eruption

Warmer wetter climate predicted to bring societal and ecological impact to the Tibetan Plateau

Feeding infants peanut products protects against allergy into adolescence

Who will like beetle skewers? What Europeans think about alternative protein food

ETRI wins ‘iF Design Award’ for mobile collaborative robot

Combating carbon footprint: novel reactor system converts carbon dioxide into usable fuel

Investigating the origin of circatidal rhythms in freshwater snails

Altering cellular interactions around amyloid plaques may offer novel Alzheimer’s treatment strategies

Brain damage reveals part of the brain necessary for helping others

Surprising properties of elastic turbulence discovered

Study assesses cancer-related care at US hospitals predominantly serving minority populations compared with non-minority serving hospitals

First in-human investigator-initiated clinical trial to launch for refractory prostate cancer patients: Novel alpha therapy targets prostate-specific membrane antigen

Will generative AI change the way universities communicate?

Artificial Intelligence could help cure loneliness, says expert

Echidnapus identified from an ‘Age of Monotremes’

Semaglutide may protect kidney function in individuals with overweight or obesity and cardiovascular disease

New technique detects novel biomarkers for kidney diseases with nephrotic syndrome

Political elites take advantage of anti-partisan protests to disrupt politics

Tiny target discovered on RNA to short-circuit inflammation, UC Santa Cruz researchers find

Charge your laptop in a minute? Supercapacitors can help; new research offers clues

Scientists discover CO2 and CO ices in outskirts of solar system

[Press-News.org] Aston University research finds that social media can be used to increase fruit and vegetable intake in young people