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Article

Is Social Media Spreading Misinformation on Exercise and Health in Brazil?

1
Department of Physiology, Institute of Biological Sciences, Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Juiz de Fora 36036-900, Brazil
2
Exercise Science, Health and Human Performance Research Group, Department of Sport Sciences, Institute of Health Sciences, Federal University of Triangulo Mineiro, Uberaba 38025-180, Brazil
3
Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand, School of Sport and Recreation, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(22), 11914; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182211914
Received: 20 September 2021 / Revised: 8 November 2021 / Accepted: 9 November 2021 / Published: 13 November 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Health Care Sciences & Services)
Instagram (IG) reaches millions of people, sharing personal content and all kinds of information, including those related to exercise and health. However, the scientific quality of the posted information is questionable. Thus, this study aimed to analyze whether exercise and health information posted by popular Brazilian IG influencers has technical-scientific accuracy. A personal IG account was created to identify Brazilian IG profiles. The inclusion criteria of the accounts were: (1) having 50% of all the shared posts related to topics about exercise and health, such as nutrition, health and wellness, medicine, or physical fitness; and (2) having over 100,000 followers. Qualitative analysis revealed a low quality percentage (38.79 ± 25.43%) for all analyzed posts. Out of all the posts, only 13 (~2.7%) cited a reference endorsing the information. Moreover, the higher quality-ratio score of the posts was not directly associated with the higher educational qualification of the influencers (r = 0.313; p = 0.076). Nevertheless, the number of followers was inversely correlated with the educational qualification of the influencers (r = −0.450; p = 0.009), but not with the quality-ratio score of the posts (r = −0.178 p = 0.322). We conclude that prominent Brazilian IG influencers disseminate low-quality information about exercise and health, contributing to the wide-spreading of misinformation to millions of followers. View Full-Text
Keywords: fitspiration; fitness; Instagram; nutrition; public health fitspiration; fitness; Instagram; nutrition; public health
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MDPI and ACS Style

Marocolo, M.; Meireles, A.; de Souza, H.L.R.; Mota, G.R.; Oranchuk, D.J.; Arriel, R.A.; Leite, L.H.R. Is Social Media Spreading Misinformation on Exercise and Health in Brazil? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 11914. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182211914

AMA Style

Marocolo M, Meireles A, de Souza HLR, Mota GR, Oranchuk DJ, Arriel RA, Leite LHR. Is Social Media Spreading Misinformation on Exercise and Health in Brazil? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(22):11914. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182211914

Chicago/Turabian Style

Marocolo, Moacir, Anderson Meireles, Hiago Leandro Rodrigues de Souza, Gustavo Ribeiro Mota, Dustin Jay Oranchuk, Rhaí André Arriel, and Laura Hora Rios Leite. 2021. "Is Social Media Spreading Misinformation on Exercise and Health in Brazil?" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 22: 11914. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182211914

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