If You Are What You Tweet, America Is Coffee, Beer and Pizza
Proof that social media rules everything around us: Scientists are now using Twitter to get insights into our healthy (or lack thereof) habits. Who is rethinking all of their pizza-and-wine-emoji-filled tweets and inserting their face into their palm? It’s okay — the pizza emoji is always in my most-used box, too.
So, what does Twitter tell researchers about our health? Well, as TIME reports, a new study, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research Public Health and Surveillance, found that out of 80 million randomly collected tweets from neighborhoods across the U.S., five percent of those tweets were about food — and it’s not all avocado-toast talk (surprisingly). The most tweeted-about consumbales in America, based on that sample, were coffee, beer, pizza, wine, chicken, BBQ, ice cream and tacos. A measly 16 percent of the foods we tweeted about were healthy. So long story short, if you are what you tweet, America is a beer-fueled pizza party followed by Frappucinos (Starbucks was the most tweeted-about fast-food restaurant). Sounds pretty accurate, right?
The study’s point was to gain insight into the health of folks from different neighborhoods across the U.S. through Twitter and to see how what we were tweeting about correlated with health outcomes in different areas. They found that areas that produced more healthy-food tweets had fewer deaths and lower rates of chronic disease, and same for areas that tweeted about physical activity the most — in those places, there were lower rates of obsesity and fewer deaths.
And here’s a little something to think about as you ponder what to eat for lunch: According to the researchers, while healthy-food tweets only made up 16 percent of all the food tweets, tweets that mentioned healthy food were the happiest tweets of them all. Healthy lunch, here you come?
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