From the colour-us-surprised department: social networks can have a modest effect on weight loss.
A study presented at the World Innovation Summit for Heath has culled data from twelve studies that took place across the globe and found that people who use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media as a means of aiding weight loss see some moderate success. What do they mean by that? Basically, people use social media to keep their friends abreast of their weight loss success, posting things like weigh-ins or new exercise personal bests. The public platform provides a sense of pressure.
According to Dr Hutan Ashrafian, the lead author of the study, “One advantage of using social media over other methods is that it offers the potential to be much more cost effective and practical for day-to-day use when compared to traditional approaches. The feeling of being part of a community allows patients to draw on the support of their peers as well as clinicians. They can get advice from their doctor without the inconvenience or cost of having to travel, and clinicians can provide advice to many patients simultaneously.”
Of course, other studies have found that sites like Facebook can have a negative effect on your mental health. If that platform is too public, check out something like MyFitnessPal, which limits your exposure to people in the same boat.