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Examining Weight Loss Support Messaging Among Black Women: A Content Analysis of Social Media Interactions

Acholonu, Akuyoma and Johnson, Sarah (2021) Examining Weight Loss Support Messaging Among Black Women: A Content Analysis of Social Media Interactions. [Doctoral Capstone Project]

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Black American women have the highest prevalence of obesity in the United States and develop more obesity-related health complications resulting in shortened life expectancy. Related to this disparity, Black women are increasingly engaging in online communities across a range of social media platforms for weight loss support. However, the content and sentiment of their messages in social media interactions is unknown. The purpose of this study was to conduct a qualitative content analysis to examine Black women’s social media interactions for weight loss support. Four online communities with the greatest number of monthly publicly available posts in 2019-2020 and a mission focused exclusively on Black women weight loss were selected as a source of message data. One hundred sample text-based message posts with comments were retrospectively extracted from each community’s Facebook platforms as units of analysis (n=400). Using Dedoose, two researchers independently coded and weight de-identified meaning units using a deductive approach (Kappa Cohen’s >.80; p<.001). The Social Comparison Theory and its four constructs (e.g., self-evaluation, self-assessment, upward comparison, and downward comparison), along with components of the AHA/ACC/TOS Evidence-Based Lifestyle Obesity Management Clinical Guidelines (e.g., dietary activity, physical activity, and behavior therapy) were used as frameworks for coding themes and categories. Each meaning unit was scored on a sentiment weight scale of 1-5; ranging from very negative to very positive. Findings showed that the high level themes commonly found within the weight loss support groups were Evidence-Based Lifestyle Obesity Guidelines (n = 219 mu), Motivation (n = 141 mu), Social Comparison Theory (n = 89 mu), Encouragement (n = 64 mu), Lbs Lost (n = 51 mu), Advice (n = 34 mu), COVID-19 (n = 29 mu), Challenges (n = 27 mu), and Black Lives Matter (n = 16 mu). Total number of participants = 328, and total number of administrators = 71. The key takeaway is that for Black women to achieve realistic and sustainable weight loss goals via online weight loss support, that social media messaging should emphasize a more Evidence- Based approach. It is recommended that group administrators of online weight loss groups increase messaging about the benefits of incremental weight loss and how losing 3-5% of one’s body weight will significantly improve overall health outcomes. Administrators can do this by showcasing the “Target Weight Loss Chart” on their platforms. Furthermore, administrators can also implement monthly weight loss challenges with the Evidence Based Lifestyle Obesity guidelines as their framework for successful and sustainable weight loss goals.

Item Type: Doctoral Capstone Project
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Radford University > Waldron College of Health and Human Services > Health Sciences Program
Depositing User: Akuyoma Acholonu
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2021 22:24
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2022 13:54
URI: http://wagner.radford.edu/id/eprint/663

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