The New Social Media Epidemic: Health

Zoe Jethani, Staff Writer

Teenagers are taking control of their insecurities as they see healthier lifestyles displayed all over social media, encouraging them to better their fitness and diet.
Teenagers have always been known for being insecure, sadly. For years, eating disorders and unhealthy habits have been on the rise as more and more adolescents become further concerned with their body image. Lately, body image barriers are beginning to be broken down by more health focused and proactive teenage lifestyles and, surprisingly, social media is actually helping.

While teenagers have historically been less concerned with their health, Wheaton Warrenville South students have proven to be taking control of their fitness. In a recent survey, 68% of students reported that their health is extremely important to them. Students have been working out more often and also eating healthier. 

Social media has provided kids with constant comparison. According to Andrew Arnolds of Forbes Magazine, studies have shown that  ̈people who were exposed to fitness related social media content were increasingly concerned with their own weight.̈ Fitness influencers and media users constantly post about their workouts and bodies which has caused a fitness and workout epidemic nationwide. When students were asked for their reasoning for a healthier lifestyle, many responded with responses related to looking fit. At WWS, almost 50% of 50 students who participated in a survey reported that they have a gym membership and 78% said they work out more than 3 times each week. 

Social media has provided users with a higher health education as well. Those on social media are able to learn more about workouts they might like or different diet options. Arnolds goes on to say, ̈It has also become a source of information and education related to all-things wellness and fitness: more than 40% of users indicate that information found on social media affects the way they approach their health.¨ 

Diet is a very important component of health as many students have come to recognize. When asked what a typical school-day lunch looks like, 98% of students included fruits and vegetables. Salads with nuts and vegetables have also become a popular choice. Students reported that when they eat healthier they feel better, which shows how more and more teenagers want to improve how they feel on a day to day basis.  

Ashley Zima, a senior at Wheaton Warrenville South, said,  ̈Always seeing people eat healthier on social media makes me want to do it because of how happy they are.̈ Because confidence is a great struggle for adolescents, students are constantly looking for ways to better their own view of themselves. Zima continues, “I feel when I eat healthier it leads me to be a happier person because I feel more confident in myself.”

Although social media has caused numerous problems within our generation, it has shown young adults the immense benefits of a fit lifestyle. Teenagers are feeling and looking better and are becoming obsessed with working out and their diet. Social media is finally becoming a more positive platform for teenagers to learn more about bettering their health and if this continues, many young adults will be much more positive about themselves and their bodies.