University of Birmingham – Research Study

We are hoping that you would be able to facilitate participation in our new study examining the influence of social media on physical activity and diet/nutrition during COVID-19. Anyone over the age of 13 can take part, and we are interested in the use (or not) of social media as a source of information.

Main Survey Link:
Video Link Adults (clickable link in video):

Survey/Consent Link Young People (age 13-15:
Video Link young people (clickable link in video):

Study Overview
Maintaining healthy and active lifestyles is a global priority, and this has become even more significant during the COVID-19 pandemic. The current social distancing measures have restricted movement, altered access to and opportunity for certain food types, and prevented access to indoor exercise facilities creating challenges for the maintenance of people’s typical physical activity and diet behaviours. These measures may be particularly impacting on people deemed vulnerable and who have been asked to be shielded and/or people previously active, or those previously inactive.

The dynamic environment provided by social media can be used to promote healthy lifestyle behaviours. For example, our evidence demonstrates that social media can positively impact on health-related knowledge and behaviours through the use and generation of: (i) relevant and accessible health-related content; (ii) socialising and emotional support; and (iii) entertaining and engaging content. Yet since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a plethora of non-evidence-based information has become available, and this information is in many cases only appropriate for specific sub-populations, such as healthy participants.

The aim of this project is to provide evidence-based guidance to support the health-related uses of social media, and to inform the design of effective policy and practice to optimise the educative potential of social media for physical activity and diet during a global pandemic and beyond. This evidence will inform guidelines to help optimise the benefits of social media for physical activity and nutrition, and to minimise potential harms.
The research is funded by the ESRC and is being conducted in the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK. The study is led by Dr Victoria Goodyear, Prof. Janice Thompson, Dr Jet Veldhuijzen, Dr Gareth Wallis, Dr Ian Boardley, Dr Shin-Yi, Dr Afroditi Stathi, Dr Sally Fenton, and Dr Kyriaki Makopoulou.