There are a variety of ways for researchers to measure health. But according to new study findings, our most frequently tweeted foods can also be a new way to measure exactly how healthy our country is — and how economics affects who has access to healthy food.
Through research conducted by the University of Utah Health Sciences, researchers found that the three most tweeted foods in the continental U.S. between 2014 and 2015 were “coffee,” “beer,” and “pizza.” But those statistics don’t just tell us what three foods Americans love the most — they also provide a much-needed spotlight on the effects these foods have on our health.
They found that communities that tweeted most often about physical activities or talked about healthy foods positively had overall better health than those who did not — and these were also the communities with greater economic stability.
These conclusions were drawn from cross-referencing the foods that were most popular among Twitter users and the communities that tweeted about these foods.
Of course, the correlation between being poor and being more likely to tweet about these foods reveals the need to create more inclusive food programs and greater access to healthy food in these communities.
Less-affluent communities are more likely to be part of food deserts, where there is less access to fresh, local produce than there is in more affluent communities.
Researchers have previously used Twitter to study how users construct their eating habits. But the types of comparisons found in this latest study can help to provide clues for how surrounding neighborhoods can also play a role in the ways healthy eating — and living — habits are formed.
H/T Science Daily
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