This month we talk to Odette Hannah Trigger. Odette is currently a physiotherapy honours student working on the project #Fitspo: Are Instagram fitspiration images and videos actually motivating? We asked Odette about herself and her research.
Please tell us a little about yourself
I am a physiotherapy honours student at the University of Sydney. I also have a degree in Behavioural Science from the University of Queensland. When I was offered the opportunity to conduct a study on Instagram, I saw this as an opportunity to combine my two areas of interest – physical and mental wellbeing.
What is your research on?
Fitspiration, or fitspo, is the online trend of posting content on social media which proposes to inspire healthier lifestyles through a balanced diet and regular exercise. This online content consists of images and videos promoting exercise and a balanced diet, and is often posted by fitness models. However, a growing body of research suggests that fitspiration posts reduce self-esteem in women since models set unrealistic standards of what is “healthy” in terms of body shape and weight. My project seeks to understand how healthy living messages can be modified to promote body satisfaction and exercise by using images and videos of average-sized models (in contrast to thin and toned models).
What are the real world consequences of your research?
There have already been government-led campaigns to try and promote healthy lifestyles in women using social media (such as the “Girls, make your move” campaign in NSW). Given that these social media campaigns and trends already exist, the results of my study could support the development of body positive campaigns that will encourage women to exercise without producing negative mental health consequences.
What does digital health mean to you?
Every aspect of life is becoming digital and health is no exception. Given the huge change in how information is delivered and consumed, the promotion of healthy living through digital content will play a pivotal role. It is therefore essential that we are delivering messages which are properly targeted, cost effective and cause no harm.
For more information and to participate in the survey and view the Participant Information Statement, please click here: https://tinyurl.com/fitspostudy
A very big thank you to Odette for being our May feature!