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04-18-2018 | Obesity | Review | Article

Social Media and Obesity in Adults: a Review of Recent Research and Future Directions

Current Diabetes Reports

Authors: Molly E. Waring, Danielle E. Jake-Schoffman, Marta M. Holovatska, Claudia Mejia, Jamasia C. Williams, Sherry L. Pagoto

Publisher: Springer US


Purpose of Review

Social media is widely used and has potential to connect adults with obesity with information and social support for weight loss and to deliver lifestyle interventions. The purpose of this review is to summarize recent observational and intervention research on social media and obesity.

Recent Findings

Online patient communities for weight loss abound but may include misinformation. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses suggest that social media-delivered lifestyle interventions modestly impact weight, yet how social media was used and participant engagement varies widely.


The rapidly changing social media landscape poses challenges for patients, clinicians, and researchers. Research is needed on how patients can establish supportive communities for weight loss and the role of clinicians in these communities. Emerging research on meaningful engagement in, and the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of, social media-delivered lifestyle interventions should provide insights into how to leverage social media to address the obesity epidemic.

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