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A Comparison of Facebook Use and Exposure to Nutrition Misinformation among Arabs According to Body Weight

Facebook is the most popular social media worldwide. The degree to which Facebook is used for nutrition information and contributes to exposure to nutrition misinformation continues to be debated. This study aims to determine whether Facebook use and exposure to nutrition misinformation scores were different for Arab Facebook users with different Body Mass Index (BMI) levels. A cross-sectional survey of 33 questions was performed on 147 users (83% females, 46.3% millennials, 56.5% with 4 years bachelor’s degree, 56.5% married and 59.9% employed). Data were analyzed using IBM SPSS Statistics V24. Results of one-way ANOVA showed that Facebook use scores decreased from underweight BMI <18.5 (n=10, 2.2+0.5) to healthy BMI of 18.5-24.9 (n=71, 1.8+0.8), but increased from healthy BMI of 18.5-24.9 (n=71, 1.8+0.8) to overweight BMI of 25-29.9 (n=44, 1.9+0.8) and obese BMI>30 (n=22, 1.9+0.9). Differences between these BMI groups were not statistically significant, F (3,143) = 0.835, p = 0.477. Results of one-way Welch ANOVA showed that exposure to nutrition misinformation score decreased from underweight BMI <18.5 (n=10, 2.5+0.5), to healthy BMI of 18.5-24.9 (n=71, 2.3+0.6), to overweight BMI of 25-29.9 (n=44, 2.2+0.6), to obese BMI>30 (n=22, 1.9+0.9), in that order. There were no statistically significant differences in scores between the different BMI groups, Welch’s F (3, 34.494) = 1.996, p = 0.133. Further research is needed to examine how social media tools like Facebook can be successfully used to influence healthy weight adoption and mitigate risk of exposure to nutrition misinformation around body weight, particularly among Arabs.

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