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A new study finds that dieters who tweet as part of a weight-loss program are more likely to drop kilos than those who don't use social media.
The study, conducted by the University of South Carolina's Arnold School of Public Health, is one of the first to examine the use of Twitter in a behavioral weight-loss intervention, said Brie Turner-McGrievy of the Arnold School's Department of Health Promotion, Education and Behavior.
The researchers followed 96 overweight and obese men and women who participated in a weight-loss program using a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. All participants received biweekly podcasts about nutrition, exercise and goal-setting, but half of the group also downloaded a diet-monitoring app and a Twitter app to their mobile device.
While both groups lost weight over the six-month study, members of the Twitter group -- who received messages from a weight loss counselor and responses from fellow participants -- lost more. In fact, researchers found that every 10 posts to Twitter corresponded to a 0.5 percent weight loss.
In total over the six-month period, there were 2,630 Twitter posts, with 75 percent of them deemed "informational," such as "I avoided eating a pastry this morning at a breakfast meeting!" Other tweets were more emotional, demonstrating listening, esteem support, or providing compliments, the researchers said.
The findings were published this week in the journal "Translational Behavioral Medicine." Access: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13142-012-0183-y
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