TikTok Promotes Harmful Weight-Normative Messaging, New Study Finds

TikTok is dominated by weight-normative content that could lead to unhealthy eating behaviors or issues with self-perception among teenage and youthful adult clients, according to another review.

A review published Tuesday in the science journal PLOS One analyzed 1,000 recordings on the social media platform across 10 popular food-, wellness and nutrition-related hashtags, each with north of 1 billion perspectives since 2020.


The recordings were checked on to determine key themes, including “the glorification of weight reduction, the positioning of food to achieve health and thinness, and the lack of master voices providing nutrition information.”

Researchers found that a majority of the viral content providing weight reduction and healthy eating tips were coming from white female adolescent influencers, and were not backed up by trustworthy proof. Master voices are characterized in the concentrate as the people who self-recognized as authorized dieticians, specialists, or qualified trainers.

“We saw no master voices in this conversation,” Dr. Lizzy Pope, associate professor in the Nutrition and Food Sciences Department at the College of Vermont and lead author, told the New York Post. “There are not very many specialists or dietitians that were interacting in this content.

So it was basically only all individuals that are taking their personal experience and sharing it with the world which can be valuable.

In any case, in nutrition, there’s such a lot of bad information out there, that we have to be so careful.”

Pope added that many of the recordings studied were promoting weight reduction or particular body sizes by “making it look really easy, as, ‘Do these five exercises and you will shed 15 pounds in no time.'” “It was so pervasive,” she told the power source. “There was a ton of subliminal messaging around what bodies and food sources ought to look like to kind of match up to the thin ideal.

So many of the recordings talked about trying to achieve a particular body shape that was suggested, or just definitely, thin.”

Researchers warn that the weight-normative content on TikTok could conceivable lead to disordered eating behaviors. “Helping clients discern dependable nutrition information, and eliminate triggering content from their social media feeds may be strategies to address the weight-normative social media content that is so prevalent,” the review states.