Research: Online support through Reddit can assist with weight loss

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Reddit use can positively impact your weight loss plans.

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Reddit and other user groups have been shown to be an important tool for people to share information and have been extensively used for people to achieve beneficial changes in health. Support is one of the key means for successful weight loss. Online social networks can be one means to provide this support. Lose-it and several other online support groups have been shown to help support weight loss. Could Reddit be another means or tool to successfully support your weight loss plans?

Obesity is a huge public health concern today. It affects about one-third of the world’s population and nearly half of all Americans. In order to alleviate this problem, health professionals are focusing on health interventions, which can be performed online. Online sources of information and support are considered key to successfully treating this epidemic because they are able to reach more people at a lower overall cost than many of the treatments used today.

A new study from 2019 analyzed three distinct online communities about weight and diet in the Reddit community​[1]​. The researchers modeled data as 3 directed and weighted graphs of the posts and comments and evaluate the interaction between users of each community. They also analyzed the specific characteristics of each community, the habits of daily activity of the users and the formation of implicit bonds of friendship through the formation of communities.

Our main results show that Reddit is a content-centered social network, in which what matters is what is posted and not who posts. In addition, users tend to create implicit friendship relationships through denser regions of interactions. Our results show that, contrary to expectations, the three communities present the same behavior pattern in a general point of view, which facilitates the development of non-directed online weight loss intervention strategies.

The bottom line: Reddit has many of the characteristics that should make weight loss successful. It is an informational website in which users can share information and provide positive support. I would like to see a study that looks at weight loss success when compared to use of Reddit but there is no reason to believe it would not help. I recommend you try it. It might give you a healthier avenue with less of the nastiness of Facebook.

Reference:

  1. [1]
    K. Braga Enes, P. P. Valadares Brum, T. Oliveira Cunha, F. Murai, A. P. Couto da Silva, and G. Lobo Pappa, “Reddit Weight Loss Communities: Do They Have What It Takes for Effective Health Interventions?,” in 2018 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Conference on Web Intelligence (WI), 2018 [Online]. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/WI.2018.00-45
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About the Author

ChuckH
I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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