Healthy Mind, Healthy Living: Social Media’s Health Trends Do More Harm Than Good

Healthy Mind, Healthy Living: Social Media’s Health Trends Do More Harm Than Good

Nicole Markus, Editor-in-Chief

You’ve likely seen a “health” trend on a popular social media platform like TikTok, Instagram or Twitter, enticing young people with promises of lost weight, “beach bods” and an overall healthier lifestyle. Yet, these so-called healthy trends that promote what many consider as positive actually do more harm than good by preying on and profiting off young people who don’t know the dangers of diet fads and quick weight loss programs.

These trends, scattered all over the Internet, each promote a different diet fad that they claim will help you lose weight in a healthy way. Young, impressionable teenagers who see these trends often fall victim to them, wishing to look like the models they see all over their timelines. 

That’s why these trends market themselves the way they do. Oftentimes, influencers gain their fame and grow their fortune by selling products they have never even used themselves, claiming that said items helped them lose weight and become the model they are today. This remains harmful, since young people are more likely to throw money at a product if social media stars say they should. In reality, a low number of these teenagers clear these products with their doctor — a dangerous practice, since little research goes into the possible side effects or repercussions of taking these products or engaging in certain diet and exercise practices.

Some presences on social media garner tens of thousands of followers simply for marketing a new diet or exercise plan they created themselves. The lack of credentials these people often have causes concern. Those who are not licensed nutritionists have no business telling the public what they should, or should not, put into their body, especially since real nutritionists often debunk these diets as dangerous, harmful and even just flat out wrong. Just because someone says it online does not make it true, and marketing a diet as a “guaranteed” way of losing weight can draw in some impressionable young people who do not know any better.

Aside from the fact that these trends are dangerous and can harm one’s body, they also promote the “skinny standard.” The beauty standard of today’s society makes many feel as though they have to be skinny and “beautiful” to be worth something, an impossible and harmful standard that remains flawed in its very nature. 

Someone’s weight and health should remain between them and their doctor only. Advocating for someone to lose weight to become “prettier” corresponds to the rise in eating disorders seen today. Many young people feel a compulsion to lose weight due to the endless trends they see advocating for them to do so on social media, and most of the time, these young people don’t have an actual health-related reason to do so. Eating disorders have an extremely dangerous effect on people’s bodies, and can lead to severe health problems.

Social media’s health trends, often related solely to losing weight, have gone too far. Instead of promoting and profiting off people’s insecurities, the time has come to lift up people of all different body types. All bodies, and yes, I do mean all bodies, are beautiful. Promoting the “skinny standard” and selling fake or dangerous products is unnecessary, and frankly, irresponsible, practice. Let’s leave behind the outdated health trends and move towards a more accepting and loving society.