Forget influencers: family and friends are better at talking about health

Influencers have infiltrated all sectors of social media. There is no problem with this if we are talking about travel, technology, fashion… All these sections are subjective or do not hurt if we are wrong. However, those who have thousands of followers on social media and give health or nutrition advice should have professional knowledge to do so. It is not worth just anyone doing it. And now a study, published in Health Communication, says, verbatim, that “Your mother may have a better influence on your health than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson”.

To reach this conclusion, a team of scientists, led by Nicole O’Donnell, They surveyed 404 adults who said they felt inspired by health role models.Participants answered questions about their chosen role model, as well as their motivation to improve their physical and mental health.

Most agreed that they looked to a person they knew as a role model for good health (such as a friend, relative, or health care provider) rather than a celebrity, which gave them Greater motivation to achieve your health goalsFemale participants were also more likely than men to choose a personal role model rather than a celebrity. And the person most often named was their own mother.

“We know that mothers and fathers have an enormous influence in shaping people’s health trajectories “Throughout their lives, simply by teaching them about fitness and nutrition,” O’Donnell said in a statement. “As this research shows, parental influence does matter and lasts well into adulthood.”

The findings revealed that “perceived similarity” was one of the main reasons for choosing a role model, which may be why most, Around 64% chose a family member, a partner or an acquaintance.

“If you see a friend join a gym or decide to run a half marathon, you can follow their journey and you also have similar resources to be able to do the same,” O’Donnell adds. “Celebrities often have personal chefs and trainers; they have a lot of resources that we don’t have.”

Women in the study also were approximately 2.5 times more likely to choose a personal model than men, although many participants of both sexes still chose celebrities. Among all celebrity role models, the one chosen most frequently was The Rock, followed by LeBron James, Tom Brady and Michelle Obama.

While personal role models had a stronger influence, the authors observed that famous role models also had a positive impact on motivation. The way in that talk about health can be essentialaccording to the authors.

“When celebrities and influencers talk about health, it’s important that they also share their challenges and how they overcame them,” says O’Donnell. “For example, The Rock’s candor about depression helps destigmatize mental health issues and makes for a great role model. Our results found that any kind of role model on social media will help boost motivation. This shows that there can be many benefits to just thinking about what a role model is for you. Who do you want to be like, whether you know that person in real life or not?

The findings also warn against focusing too much on these types of influencers. Some participants indicated that their role models were extreme in achieving their health goals, such as severely restricting their diet or exercising too much. The other side of the study showed that Those people who did not have a role model in this area had lower physical and mental health. than those who did have it.

“Look to those around you to find those who inspire you,” O’Donnell concludes. “It’s a form of social support that we often overlook because we think of role models as something for children. But this study, along with others, has shown that Role models are important throughout a person’s life, so we should look for them.”.