Influencers give bad fitness advice 90% of the time– report reveals

What? A whole 90%? Shocking revelation from a new report by a team from University of Glasglow has raised question marks. Now according to their findings, only one out of nine leading UK bloggers actually provide true diet & wellness advice! And in effect, they’re recommending we all stay away from such information.

People who wish to lose weight have been warned to stay away from social media influencers who claim to have the latest diet fix, researchers say.
Talk about alarming results!

A study team from the University of Glasgow in the UK set out to research on what kind of fitness advice we receive online.

“They studied the country’s most popular influencers, based on those who had more than 80,000 followers on at least one social media site, verification from at least two sites such as Twitter, and who had an active weight management blog”, Independent UK reported.

And what they found out is that out of nine of these ‘mega’ fitness influencers, eight of them are MISLEADING their followers!

“We found that the majority of the blogs could not be considered credible sources of weight management information, as they often presented opinion as fact and failed to meet UK nutritional criteria”, the lead author, Christina Sabbagh disclosed.

“This is potentially harmful, as these blogs reach such a wide audience,” she added.


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Bloggers were analysed on their posts between May and June 2018

Scored against 12, these bloggers were ranked according to their credibility, based on tips they posted within the time frame. Some of these criteria were transparency, trustworthiness, nutritionally sound, bias and inclusion of evidence-based references.

To pass the test, each fitness influencer/ blogger had to score 70% or above. And my oh my, the results were so disappointing!

“The findings – presented at this year’s European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Glasgow – showed that a majority of bloggers failed in fundamental areas.”

“Of the advice-based blogs, only one by a registered nutritionist with a degree passed overall, with 75 per cent”, Independent UK wrote.

In fact, five of the nine threw their opinions out there as facts — with no evidence. Another five were found to not ‘provide a disclaimer’ on their posts, while all of them failed when their meals did not meet the Public Health England calorie targets and traffic light criteria.


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Influencers give bad fitness advice 90% the time– report reveals

However, these results may not be far-fetched as ‘some influencers’ have demonstrated a number of times, how dicey their credibility is.

For instance, remember that blogger who falsely claimed for years that her nutrition and diet helped cure brain cancer? Or the other vegan influencer who after condemning animal protein was caught eating fish, and then ironically saying that it was for health reasons?

“This study adds to the evidence of the destructive power of social media. Any Tom, Dick or Harry can post whatever they like and be believed by their followers…publishing junk advice is indefensible”

Conclusively, the authors said: “Social media influencers’ blogs are not credible resources for weight management. Popularity and impact of social media in the context of the obesity epidemic suggests all influencers should be required to meet accepted scientifically or medically justified criteria for the provision of weight management advice online.”

The decision to believe everything these influencers say is on you.

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Amanda Lucy


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