Special Issue "Social Media Data for Public Health and Policy"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Communication".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 September 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Jon-Patrick Allem
Website
Guest Editor
Keck School of Medicine of USC, Los Angeles, United States
Interests: preventive medicine, social media, tobacco control, health communication
Ms. Anuja Majmundar

Guest Editor
Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90032
Interests: computational social science, data science, behavioral science, health policy, tobacco control, health communication

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

We are organizing a Special Issue on the use of social media data to inform public health and policy for the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. This journal is peer-reviewed and publishes articles in the interdisciplinary area of environmental health sciences and public health.

Publicly accessible data from those who post to social media platforms, like Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and YouTube, among others, can be used to rapidly capture and describe health-related attitudes and behaviors. These data are produced organically and can be collected in near real-time, to monitor nascent health-related trends, public reactions to new policies and information campaigns, health emergencies, and user experiences with new products and services that may have direct consequences for public health and safety. Social media platforms also serve as vehicles to implement health communication strategies, and to deliver interventions aimed at promoting health among priority populations.

This Special Issue aims to highlight the utility in analyzing social media data for public health implications. In general, this Special Issue is seeking original submissions that harness social media to examine (1) health or health policy-related discussions, attitudes, and behaviors, (2) online marketing and promotional practices of companies and services that may influence health behaviors, (3) interventions that use social media as tools in intervention delivery, (4) applications of data science or computational social science methods in the health domain, (5) critical analysis of the role of social media in public health, and (6) theory-driven approaches to social media-based inquires. Special attention will be given to innovative submissions that combine data science approaches with theoretical models or frameworks.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jon Patrick Allem
Ms. Anuja Majmundar
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Data science
  • Health communication
  • Health education
  • Health informatics
  • Health promotion
  • Health policy
  • Public health
  • Social media
  • Social networks
  • Social media intervention

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Characterizing #Backwoods on Instagram: “The Number One Selling All Natural Cigar”
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(12), 4584; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17124584 - 25 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 919
Abstract
We sought to assess the proportion of Backwoods (Imperial Tobacco Group Brands LLC) cigar-related posts to Instagram that may contain misleading claims, nature-evoking imagery, and appealing flavors. Inclusion criteria for this study included an Instagram post with the hashtag “#backwoods” from 30 August [...] Read more.
We sought to assess the proportion of Backwoods (Imperial Tobacco Group Brands LLC) cigar-related posts to Instagram that may contain misleading claims, nature-evoking imagery, and appealing flavors. Inclusion criteria for this study included an Instagram post with the hashtag “#backwoods” from 30 August to 12 September 2018. Rules were established to content analyze (n = 1206) posts. Categories included misleading packaging (i.e., the post contained an image of a Backwoods product with the descriptor “natural” on the packaging), misleading promo (i.e., the corresponding caption to the post contained hashtag(s) like “#natural”, “#authentic”, “#alwaystrue”), nature-evoking imagery (i.e., the post contained images of grass, water, and pastural views along with a Backwoods product), flavors (i.e., the post contained a Backwoods product with brand-specific flavors on the packaging), flavor promo (i.e., the corresponding caption to the post contained hashtag(s) of Backwoods’ brand-specific flavors), marijuana-related (i.e., the post contained an image of marijuana next to a Backwoods pack, rolled cigars visibly contained marijuana, or hollowed-out cigars next to marijuana), smoking (the post contained an image of smoke or a lit cigar), brand-specific promo (i.e., the post contained an image of a Backwoods t-shirt, sweatshirt, hat, etc.), and perceived gender. Among the posts analyzed, 645 (53.5%) were marijuana-related, 564 (46.8%) were flavors, 463 (38.4%) were misleading packaging, 335 (27.8%) were flavor promo, 309 (25.6%) were misleading promo, 188 (15.6%) were nature-evoking imagery, 165 (13.7%) were smoking, 157 (13.0%) were brand-specific promo, and 239 (19.8%) were perceived male gender. Backwoods cigar-related posts to Instagram often contained misleading images and promotions of a “natural” tobacco product, images of marijuana use (in the form of blunt-making), brand-specific flavors, smoking, and promotional merchandise. Misleading images and the depictions of marijuana use in addition to the variety of flavor options may increase product appeal to consumers. These results underscore the need for comprehensive regulation of cigar products similar to cigarettes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media Data for Public Health and Policy)
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Open AccessArticle
Google Street View Derived Built Environment Indicators and Associations with State-Level Obesity, Physical Activity, and Chronic Disease Mortality in the United States
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3659; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103659 - 22 May 2020
Viewed by 1348
Abstract
Previous studies have demonstrated that there is a high possibility that the presence of certain built environment characteristics can influence health outcomes, especially those related to obesity and physical activity. We examined the associations between select neighborhood built environment indicators (crosswalks, non-single family [...] Read more.
Previous studies have demonstrated that there is a high possibility that the presence of certain built environment characteristics can influence health outcomes, especially those related to obesity and physical activity. We examined the associations between select neighborhood built environment indicators (crosswalks, non-single family home buildings, single-lane roads, and visible wires), and health outcomes, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and premature mortality, at the state level. We utilized 31,247,167 images collected from Google Street View to create indicators for neighborhood built environment characteristics using deep learning techniques. Adjusted linear regression models were used to estimate the associations between aggregated built environment indicators and state-level health outcomes. Our results indicated that the presence of a crosswalk was associated with reductions in obesity and premature mortality. Visible wires were associated with increased obesity, decreased physical activity, and increases in premature mortality, diabetes mortality, and cardiovascular mortality (however, these results were not significant). Non-single family homes were associated with decreased diabetes and premature mortality, as well as increased physical activity and park and recreational access. Single-lane roads were associated with increased obesity and decreased park access. The findings of our study demonstrated that built environment features may be associated with a variety of adverse health outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media Data for Public Health and Policy)
Open AccessArticle
Role of the Built and Online Social Environments on Expression of Dining on Instagram
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(3), 735; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17030735 - 23 Jan 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1483
Abstract
Online social communities are becoming windows for learning more about the health of populations, through information about our health-related behaviors and outcomes from daily life. At the same time, just as public health data and theory has shown that aspects of the built [...] Read more.
Online social communities are becoming windows for learning more about the health of populations, through information about our health-related behaviors and outcomes from daily life. At the same time, just as public health data and theory has shown that aspects of the built environment can affect our health-related behaviors and outcomes, it is also possible that online social environments (e.g., posts and other attributes of our online social networks) can also shape facets of our life. Given the important role of the online environment in public health research and implications, factors which contribute to the generation of such data must be well understood. Here we study the role of the built and online social environments in the expression of dining on Instagram in Abu Dhabi; a ubiquitous social media platform, city with a vibrant dining culture, and a topic (food posts) which has been studied in relation to public health outcomes. Our study uses available data on user Instagram profiles and their Instagram networks, as well as the local food environment measured through the dining types (e.g., casual dining restaurants, food court restaurants, lounges etc.) by neighborhood. We find evidence that factors of the online social environment (profiles that post about dining versus profiles that do not post about dining) have different influences on the relationship between a user’s built environment and the social dining expression, with effects also varying by dining types in the environment and time of day. We examine the mechanism of the relationships via moderation and mediation analyses. Overall, this study provides evidence that the interplay of online and built environments depend on attributes of said environments and can also vary by time of day. We discuss implications of this synergy for precisely-targeting public health interventions, as well as on using online data for public health research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media Data for Public Health and Policy)
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