Researchers have examined nearly 80 million Twitter messages and revealed top 10 tweeted food items
Twitter is more than just a small talk. It has been often used as a way to understand current trends.
Recently, researchers from University of Utah have examined nearly 80 percent publicly available Twitter messages and tried to find out which foods are most popular. So they can get an idea about the overall health of people in U.S.
Researchers found that only 5 percent of tweets, randomly collected from 2015-16, mentioned food. The most tweeted food was coffee followed by beer, pizza and Starbucks while chicken was the only food-related item in the top 10 food tweets that can be considered as healthy food.
The most interesting finding was the detection of the location from which the tweets were written. For instance, researchers found that tweets from poor areas and large families were less likely to mention healthy foods. Also, the people living in the areas filled with fast food restaurants more often tweeted about fast food.
“Our data could be telling us that certain neighborhoods have fewer resources to support healthy diets.” Lead author of the study Quynh Nguyen said.
In addition, around 2 percent of all tweets mentioned physical activity like walking, running and swimming. The areas with more physical activity related tweets had fewer deaths and lower cases of obesity. Also, the area which sent out more tweets about healthy food also had fewer deaths and a lower rate of chronic diseases. But researchers also suggest that a social media account cannot be taken as a true reflection of what people do and how they feel. People probably feel more excited or more comfortable tweeting about celebratory cupcake instead of celery stack. It can just hint at food trends and a community’s overall health.
Algorithms that categorize tweets are about 85 percent accurate. Researchers are trying to make them more efficient so they can produce more accurate results. Researchers believe that Twitter can prove a useful tool in judging health condition of a society.
Co-author Ming Wen says. “This is a promising new, cost effective method for studying the social and environmental influences on health.”
Here are the top 10 tweeted foods:
• IPA (beer)
• ice cream
Top 10 tweeted physical activities:
• (swimming) pool