Are Social Media Use Related to Self-efficacy for Healthy Eating among Activity Tracker Users?
Kim, Lyounghee Lian
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Activity trackers are a growing market and a global phenomenon. In health promotion, activity tracker users became important subjects for healthy behavioral changes. To achieve a healthy lifestyle, both physical activity and a balanced diet should be combined, but there is lack of research in the healthy eating habits of activity tracker users in the literature. Bandura (1971) argues that people learn new behaviors by observing and mirroring others. Scholars suggest social media is an effective tool for behavioral changes due to its function as an extended world of people’s real life. This study employs quantitative research to examine possible correlations between social media use and self-efficacy for healthy eating. Activity tracker users completed a total of 321 surveys, answering questions about social media usage patterns and healthy eating. Research questions seek to examine different variables of social media usage patterns for healthy eating. Chi-squared tests show there is a significant relationship between viewing others’ healthy food photos and eating five portions of fruits and vegetables. Posting personal food photos and seeking nutritional information were not associated with self-efficacy for healthy eating. Among variables, ethnicity and gender emerged as significant in relation to activity tracker users’ social media usage patterns. An independent t-test showed that women were more likely to view others’ healthy food photos compared to men. The discovery of significant variables offers evidence for developing specific strategies for behavioral changes by using social media in health promotion.