New research says you can lose weight by tweeting. No, it’s not some crazy speed-typing workout. A study published this week in the journal Translational Behavioral Medicine revealed that frequent Twitter usage as part of a weight-loss program helped participants shed more pounds.
A group of 42 overweight adults was followed for six months on a regimen that included two weekly podcasts presenting nutrition and exercise information and strategies to meet short-term goals. They were also instructed to use their smartphones to log onto Twitter daily to post messages about their progress and learn how their cohorts were doing.
“What this study found was that those who were more active on Twitter lost more weight,” says lead author Brie Turner-McGrievy, Ph.D., R.D., an assistant professor at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.For every 20 tweets they tweeted, people lost about one percent of their body weight.
It’s unclear whether participants who spent more time on Twitter lost more weight as a result, or if people who were losing more weight chose to spend more time on Twitter (to show off). The researchers posit that an increase in social support and instant access to information helped keep people on track and motivated.