Healthy Weight-Loss Plans and the Internet: YouTube[R] as a Source of Information for Individuals Seeking to Lose Weight

Nutrition Health Review, Summer 2018 | Go to article overview

Healthy Weight-Loss Plans and the Internet: YouTube[R] as a Source of Information for Individuals Seeking to Lose Weight


INTRODUCTION

According to Pew Research Center, eight out of 10 adult internet users (59% of the adult United States population) use the internet as a source of information on health-related issues, which makes seeking healthcare information the third most popular online activity in the United States. Specifically, 52 percent of internet users seek information on exercise or fitness, and 49 percent seek information on diet, nutrition, vitamins, or nutritional supplements. (1)

YouTube, a popular and successful website, has up to 1 billion active users every month, (2) and 73 percent of adult Americans are said to access YouTube regularly. (3) The use of YouTube as a source of healthcare-related information for various disease states has previously been studied. (4-7) In a recent study published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, (7) researchers examined YouTube for videos directed toward patients with psoriasis, specifically examining the content available via a search for "psoriasis treatment." What the authors found was that the majority (nearly 80%) of the videos concerning the treatment of psoriasis were not from credible medical sources (i.e., most videos were posted by authors with no medical background). Only 7.1 percent of the videos on psoriasis treatment were posted by medical institutions or by verified physicians. (7)

For this issue of NHR, we examined YouTube for videos directed toward individuals interested in weight loss, specifically examining the content available using the search term "healthy weight loss plan."

METHODS

Our initial search, which was first filtered by "relevance," resulted in approximately 18,800,000 posts. We narrowed our search to videos posted "this year," which resulted in approximately 5,120,000 video posts. From here, we restricted our search to the first 100 videos displayed in the list of results. We then excluded any video older than May 1, 2017, as well as those that were not in the English language. After excluding videos that did not meet our inclusion criteria (i.e., those that were posted May 1, 2017 or later and were in the English language), we were left with 32 videos for our analysis. We evaluated the 32 videos for the following characteristics: number of page views, thumbs up and down ratings, author profession/affiliation, the content of the video, if the authors provided scientific evidence for information in video, whether the authors promised results or made product claims, if the video was monetized by advertising, and if a product or service was being offered via the content of the video, the text under the author's name or profile, or via an affiliated website.

Authors. From our sample of 32 videos, there were 19 authors (i.e., some authors posted several videos within our sample). Only one of the 19 authors gave any indication of having a medical background ("certified as a nutritional therapist"), though we were unable to verify this claim. Two authors claimed to be "certified personal trainers," one claimed to be a "personal trainer" (did not use the word certified), and one claimed to be a "fitness trainer." Of the remaining 14 authors, one claimed to be a "health & a beauty blogger by profession," one simply claimed to be a "blogger," and the remaining 12 authors did not identify themselves by any qualifications or profession.

Content. Twenty-two of the videos described and provided recipes for either single meals or dishes or meal plans designed for weight loss (most included basic nutrition information [calories, fat, carbs, protein]), three described the benefits of and provided recipes for "detox" or intermittent fasting diets, five videos described the components of healthy living and/or a healthy weight loss plan (no recipes), and two videos provided lists of dos and don'ts of dieting (e.g. "5 foods you should avoid while dieting"). None of the videos provided scientific evidence nor acknowledged a medical institution for the information provided. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Healthy Weight-Loss Plans and the Internet: YouTube[R] as a Source of Information for Individuals Seeking to Lose Weight
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.