Prevention & Recovery

For diet advice, friends trump celebs

By: Tralee Pearce

Getty Images Author: Canadian Living Credits: Getty Images

Prevention & Recovery

For diet advice, friends trump celebs

By: Tralee Pearce
We all trust our friends to give us useful insider tips. Where to get those great boots. What novel to pick up next. The best place for a cheap haircut.

The same impulse is true when it comes to diets or exercise programs, according to new research. We’ll trust a friend who has had real success over an acquaintance who is more popular or charismatic, according to a statement from the University of Buffalo.

An occupational health researcher, Lora Cavuoto, conducted a study examining the influence of social networks on healthy behaviour. Cavuoto is an assistant professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

The power of social networks
Using a simulation of known traits and behaviours of North American social media users, Cavuoto was able to pinpoint a pattern: Friends who are successful at losing weight or getting fit create ripple effects among their groups of friends, who followed suit, according to the statement.

There was less weight-loss in the networks surrounding a person with a high number of friends, Cavuoto discovered.

"Your ties and social contacts may have a bigger effect because you see them every day and you have that close connection," she said in the statement. "If they can be successful, then that's your best way of getting information out that a program is good."

The implication? If companies promoting weight-loss and wellness programs take note, we may notice them putting more energy into finding real women as social media ambassadors, eclipsing flashy celebrity spokespeople such as Jennifer Hudson or Jessica Simpson.

The downside, of course, is that if you think your Facebook page is already overloaded with marathon brags and photos of Paleo meals, brace yourself for more first-person success stories to scroll through.

But if you are looking for a new program to try, there are worse ways to spend an evening than sipping a green juice and hunting for inspiration.

Read more on clever weight-loss strategies with 5 trends to embrace and 6 tips on eating Mediterranean.

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Prevention & Recovery

For diet advice, friends trump celebs

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