Whenever you peek at the Instagram posts of your favorite celebrity eating food, a new study says it’s most likely a fat-loaded hamburger, cocktail, or a similar alimentary health hazard.
The research, published in the journal Jama Network, found that junk food and unhealthy drinks are omnipresent across one specific social media platform—Instagram. Often so on the plates and glasses of megastars like actors and actresses, musicians, athletes, and others.
A research team led by Professor Bradley Turnwald, a behavioral scientist at the University of Chicago, focused on 181 celebrity accounts on Instagram and calculated the nutritional values of 5,180 products the celebrities had posted about.
The data collected separately between May 2019 and March 2020 revealed that over 87% of the accounts featured posts with a low Nutrient Profile Index—otherwise referred to as low-quality food.
In most of the cases, the posts showed alcoholic beverages, sweets, and snacks. What’s more, only 5% of this type of content was brand-sponsored. In other words, celebrities chose to promote such products on their own.
What we can conclude from this is that there is a cultural tendency toward unhealthy food that we have to try and raise awareness of. This is an important step in weakening this tendency nationwide and helping people switch to healthy nutrition instead.
The fact that 95% of such posts weren’t even paid for is even more discouraging, especially since 72% of American teens have an Instagram account and are exposed to this kind of content daily. Still, it’s not just celebs who love to post a pic of their unhealthy treats, but ordinary folks, too.
With an influence this strong, junk food in American culture will be hard to eradicate, and with it—the obesity pandemic.