Move over WebMD; there’s a new health “expert” in town: TikTok.
According to Forbes magazine, 1 in 5 Americans reportedly consult TikTok before their doctors when seeking treatment for a health condition. And the same proportion say they trust health influencers on social platforms more than medical professionals in their community.
Understandably, we gravitate toward health and fitness influencers. They can feel like a trusted friend who’s telling it to you straight, while doctors can seem out-of-touch and uninterested.
These influencers may include credible doctors, nurses, nutritionists, and other healthcare professionals. But there are also many not-so-credible healthcare influencers out there.
With that said, it’s not always the best idea to follow your favorite health influencer’s advice without a little healthy scrutiny. Katrina Pilkington, a personal trainer certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, discussed the topic in a Well+Good interview.
“There’s too much information out there that nobody’s fact-checking,” she says. “You have to be your own fact checker.”
Keep reading and learn …
How to Vet Social Media Health Influencers
- Do your research: Don’t accept health care info at face value. Look for other multiple sources that have different points of view.
- Consider the source: For instance, a healthcare professional from the Mayo Clinic has more cred than a Zumba instructor. Is the source biased or motivated by financial gain?
- Look for citations: If the influencer refers to a study, do they offer details on the research? If so, take a deep dive and see if the study supports the claims.
- Be critical: As the saying goes: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t.” Don’t believe everything you see online. Steer clear of advice that features exaggerated claims, which are especially prevalent with weight loss influencers.
- Is there bias? It’s essential to be aware of your own biases and how they may impact your understanding of online healthcare info. Be open to alternative viewpoints.
It’s commendable that you’re taking a proactive role in your healthcare. Kudos to you!
We believe in taking a multi-pronged approach: Do your research and advocate for your health and well-being, whether online or in the doctor’s office.
Want to find out which health and wellness trends are worth exploring? We’ve got you. Here at Zenwise, we research topics your BFFs at the gym are obsessed with, like Why Your Gut Hates Fad Diets, Are Mushrooms Worth the Hype?, and What Exactly is Mindful Drinking?
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