Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Twitter can be used to address specific health issues

Date:
July 10, 2014
Source:
Washington University in St. Louis
Summary:
A new study examined the use of the hashtag #childhoodobesity in tweets to track Twitter conversations about the issue of overweight kids. The study noted that conversations involving childhood obesity on Twitter don't often include comments from representatives of government and public health organizations that likely have evidence relating to how best to approach this issue. The authors think maybe they should.

Childhood obesity is one of the top public health concerns in the United States, with 32 percent of youths aged 2-19 classified as obese as of 2012. As health problems such as childhood obesity grow, individuals and organizations have taken to Twitter to discuss the problem.

A new study, led by Jenine K. Harris, PhD, assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, examined the use of the hashtag #childhoodobesity in tweets to track Twitter conversations about the issue of overweight kids.

The study published this month in the American Journal of Public Health, noted that conversations involving childhood obesity on Twitter don't often include comments from representatives of government and public health organizations that likely have evidence relating to how best to approach this issue.

"Childhood obesity is of great concern to the public health community," Harris said. "People are really talking about it on Twitter, and we saw an opportunity to better understand perceptions of the problem."

Twitter use is growing nationwide. In its 2014 Twitter update, the Pew Research Center found that Twitter is used more by those in lower-income groups, which traditionally are more difficult to reach with health information.

While younger Americans also are more likely to use Twitter, it is used equally across education groups and is used more by non-white Americans than whites.

This, Harris said, is one of the reasons Twitter is an avenue that the academic and government sources with accurate health information should consider taking advantage of in order to reach a wide variety of people.

"I think public health so far doesn't have a great game plan for using social media, we're still laying the foundation for that," she said. "We're still learning what works.

"Public health communities, politicians, and government sources -- people who really know what works -- should join in the conversation. Then we might be able to make an impact," she said.

The study was co-authored by Sarah Moreland-Russell, PhD, associate director for the Center for Public Health Systems Science and research assistant professor; Rachel G. Tabak, PhD, research assistant professor; Lindsay R. Ruhr; and Ryan C. Maier.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University in St. Louis. The original article was written by Varsha Sridhar. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jenine K. Harris, Sarah Moreland-Russell, Rachel G. Tabak, Lindsay R. Ruhr, Ryan C. Maier. Communication About Childhood Obesity on Twitter. American Journal of Public Health, 2014; 104 (7): e62 DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301860

Cite This Page:

Washington University in St. Louis. "How Twitter can be used to address specific health issues." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140710151723.htm>.
Washington University in St. Louis. (2014, July 10). How Twitter can be used to address specific health issues. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140710151723.htm
Washington University in St. Louis. "How Twitter can be used to address specific health issues." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140710151723.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Research on plaque from ancient teeth shows that our prehistoric ancestor's had a detailed understanding of plants long before developing agriculture. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

AFP (July 18, 2014) Contaminated water in South Africa's northwestern town of Bloemhof kills three babies and hospitalises over 500 people. The incident highlights growing fears over water safety in South Africa. Duration: 02:22 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins