The Hispanic/Latino population faces a disproportionate risk of several serious medical conditions including type 2 diabetes, liver problems, and kidney damage. We also know that food choices have a very big impact on our health. Research has shown that people with chronic health conditions are more likely to rely on the internet for health information. In fact, nearly 75% of people report that they make health decisions based on the internet. The problem is that, for obesity and weight-related issues, YouTube videos often make causal claims and/or support solutions with no medical evidence.
Internet used for health information by young Hispanics/Latinos
Currently, young Hispanics/Latinos spend about 16 hours a week on their smartphones and an average of two hours a day on social media websites. YouTube is the second most visited social media platform in this group. In a new study, researchers assessed nutrition information shared through YouTube by English-speaking Hispanic/Latino influencers (meaning they each have more than 3 million subscribers to their vlogs) aged 18 and 49. Researchers compared the quality of the information presented in 68 vlogs with the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA).
Vlogging may be harmful to health
Most vloggers were female (85%) and on average each vlog was viewed almost 100,000 times (range: 5,469-3,837,778). The main themes identified from the vlogs were the presentation of personal nutrition philosophies and product promotion. The vlog content included nutrition-related information or claims that were not true (37%). Other vlogs contained advice that was inconsistent with the 2020-2025 DGA.
The concern is that Information shared by Hispanic/Latino social media influencers may be inaccurate, incomplete, and conflicting with evidence-based research. This could harm health if it is followed blindly by viewers.
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