Abstract Obesity is a challenging problem affecting almost half of college students. To solve this complex health problem, innovative approaches must be utilized. Over 94 percent of college students maintain a Facebook profile, providing them a venue to publicly disclose current fitness behaviors. Displayed advertisements on Facebook are tailored to profile content and may influence college students' fitness efforts. Facebook may be an innovative venue for improving college students' fitness behaviors. The purpose of this project was to determine (a) how and to what extent college students are discussing fitness on Facebook, and (b) how user-generated fitness information is linked to advertisements for fitness products and advice. First, public Facebook profiles of individual college students were evaluated for displayed fitness references based on 10 fitness behavior categories. Inter-rator reliability between two coders was 91.18 percent. Second, 10 fitness status updates were generated and posted by a researcher on a Facebook profile; the first 40 linked advertisements to these statements were examined. Advertisements were categorized and then examined for relevance to the college population. A total of 57 individual profiles were examined; owners had an average age of 18.3 years (SD=0.51), and 36.8 percent were women. About 71.9 percent of profiles referenced one or more fitness behavior; 97.6 percent referenced exercise, 4.9 percent dieting, and 4.9 percent unhealthy eating. Among the first 40 ads linked to generated status updates, 40.3 percent were fitness related. Most advertisements were for charity runs (30.4 percent), fitness apparel (24.2 percent), or fad diets (9.9 percent). Students referred both healthy and unhealthy fitness behaviors on their Facebook profiles, and these trigger the display of fitness-related advertisements of which few appear applicable. A community- or university-based intervention could be designed and implemented to provide relevant and tailored information to students on Facebook.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To examine associations between technology usage and specific health factors among college students.
The research employed was a quantitative, descriptive, cross-sectional design; undergraduate students enrolled in spring 2012 general health education courses were recruited to participate. To explore college students' specific technology usage and health-related behaviors, a 28-item questionnaire was utilized.
Statistical significant differences of technology usage were found between 3 of the 4 health-related behaviors under study (BMI, sleep, and nutrition) (p < .05).
As technology usage continues to evolve within the college student population, health professionals need to understand its implications on health behaviors.
American journal of health behavior 07/2014; 38(4):510-8. DOI:10.5993/AJHB.38.4.4 · 1.31 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Social networking site use has exploded among youth in the last few years and is being adapted as an important tool for healthcare interventions and serving as a platform for adolescents to gain access to health information. The aim of this study was to examine the strengths, weaknesses, and best practices of utilizing Facebook in adolescent health promotion and research via pragmatic literature review. We also examine how sites can facilitate ethically sound healthcare for adolescents, particularly at-risk youth. We conducted a literature review of health and social sciences literature from the past 5 years related to adolescent health and social network site use. Publications were grouped by shared content then categorized by themes. Five themes emerged: access to healthcare information, peer support and networking, risk and benefits of social network site use in care delivery, overcoming technological barriers, and social network site interventions. More research is needed to better understand how such Web sites can be better utilized to provide access to adolescents seeking healthcare. Given the broad reach of social network sites, all health information must be closely monitored for accurate, safe distribution. Finally, consent and privacy issues are omnipresent in social network sites, which calls for standards of ethical use.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Social media has emerged as a potentially powerful medium for communication with adolescents and young adults around their health choices.
The goal of this systematic review is to identify research on the use of social media for interacting with adolescents and young adults in order to achieve positive health outcomes.
A MEDLINE/PubMed electronic database search was performed between January 1, 2002 and October 1, 2013, using terms to identify peer-reviewed research in which social media and other Web 2.0 technologies were an important feature. We used a systematic approach to retrieve papers and extract relevant data.
We identified 288 studies involving social media, of which 87 met criteria for inclusion; 75 studies were purely observational and 12 were interventional. The ways in which social media was leveraged by these studies included (1) observing adolescent and young adult behavior (n=77), (2) providing health information (n=13), (3) engaging the adolescent and young adult community (n=17), and (4) recruiting research participants (n=23). Common health topics addressed included high-risk sexual behaviors (n=23), alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use (n=19), Internet safety (n=8), mental health issues (n=18), medical conditions (n=11), or other specified issues (n=12). Several studies used more than one social media platform and addressed more than one health-related topic.
Social media technologies offer an exciting new means for engaging and communicating with adolescents and young adults; it has been successfully used to engage this age group, identify behaviors, and provide appropriate intervention and education. Nevertheless, the majority of studies to date have been preliminary and limited in their methodologies, and mostly center around evaluating how adolescents and young adults use social media and the resulting implications on their health. Although these explorations are essential, further exploration and development of these strategies into building effective interventions is necessary.
Journal of Medical Internet Research 01/2015; 17(1):e4. DOI:10.2196/jmir.3692 · 3.43 Impact Factor
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