A content analysis of healthy living blogs: Evidence of content thematically consistent with dysfunctional eating attitudes and behaviors
“Healthy” living blogs are a recent addition to internet media that offer advice on improving physical and mental health. Often, these sites include information on eating, exercise, and self-image. This study was a content analysis designed to evaluate the information included on these sites.
A sample of 21 blogs was selected from a larger sample for evaluation. These blogs were chosen based on two criteria: they had won an award for healthy blogs and they had a large number of pageviews (pageviews were calculated using a web analytics website). Two raters (kappa reliability = 0.82) rated these blogs on multiple variables related to the blogger's characteristics, the content provided by the blogger, and entries posted on the blog.
Five of the bloggers self-identified as having had an eating disorder; seven mentioned difficulties with either menstruation or fertility; 11 referenced being on a diet; five indicated that they were using some form of dietary restraint; and 11 included some form of written negative/guilt-inducing message about food. Blog entries and About Me sections contained a variety of content indicative of problematic eating and body image information.
These findings suggest the content of healthy living blogs might be problematic for viewers who have eating or body image issues. The content does not approach the inflammatory nature of pro-eating disorder websites, yet information promoted clearly indicates that future research should further evaluate these sites. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2014; 47:362–367)