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Athletes Have an Appetite for Social Media

A study shows that online social channels may influence how athletes eat.

Athletes and social media

Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook continue to open up new opportunities for athletes to learn about nutrition. Based on a questionnaire administered to 306 athletes, a report in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that 65% of study participants reported using social media to glean nutrition information over the previous 12 months.

Female and recreational athletes were more likely to turn to social media for recipe ideas or sports nutrition trends compared with male or elite athletes. Ease of access, well-presented information, personal connectedness and information richness were the perceived advantages of tapping into social media as a nutrition resource.

While social media is populated with unreliable nutrition information, institutions like fitness organizations and even individual fitness trainers could look to the platform as a cost-effective option for delivering research-driven nutrition information to athletic-minded individuals.

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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