Eating Well for Likes: A study on social influence in healthy eating

In this study, we aim to examine 'social influence' and investigate whether social factors increase willingness to use social media and eat healthily.

What's involved?

If you decide you would like to participate, after providing informed consent, you will be asked to: 

1. Complete two online questionnaires: Your diet quality, such as intake of fruits, vegetables, energy-dense takeaway meals, sugar-sweetened beverages, and water, will be measured using a Short-form Dietary Questionnaire before the intervention. You will also be asked to complete a social influence questionnaire. This will take 45 to 60 minutes.

2. Participate in a 12-week social media intervention: You will be asked to follow a researcher-created private Instagram page called “Eating Well for Likes’ for 12 weeks. Posts from this page will appear in your Instagram feed and will include daily posts with healthy eating tips based on the New Zealand Eating and Activity guidelines. 

You will then be expected to complete a 7-day challenge called 'Eating Well for Likes', which will take place in the last 4 weeks of the 12-week intervention. You will be asked to post a photo of at least one of your healthy meals meeting the guidelines on your Instagram with the hashtag #EatingWellForLikes and a supporting caption encouraging your followers to do the same every day for 7 days. 

3. Complete two more online questionnaires: Diet quality assessment and social influence measurement will be repeated following the intervention using the same Short Dietary Questionnaire and social influence questionnaire, respectively. This will take 45 to 60 minutes. 

4. Semi-structured interview: The researchers also aim to inform the design of future interventions to support healthy behaviours by understanding how the participants appropriated Instagram to track and share food data, the benefits they obtained from doing so, and the challenges they encountered. This data will be gathered via semi-structured interviews to measure the effect of social influence from others after the #EatingWellForLikes intervention. The interview will last 45 to 60 minutes. All interviews will be recorded and transcribed via Zoom for further analysis. 

After completing the study, at the end of 12 weeks, you will be provided with a $50 Countdown voucher. This will be made available to you even if you withdraw before completing the full 12 weeks of the study. 

If you choose to participate in the semi-structured interview after 12 weeks of the study, you can provide your contact details (name and email) for a chance to win a Lenovo 7 tablet

Eligibility criteria

We are looking for participants who:

  • Aged  18-24 years
  • Living in New Zealand
  • Regularly using Instagram (at least once a week)
  • Willing to follow a health promotion page on Instagram and post a photo of their healthy meals for at least 7 days during the challenge period.
  • Fluent in English

Contact details

We appreciate the time you have taken to read this information. If you have any questions, please get in touch:

Primary contact

Samantha Fung
Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, The University of Auckland

Alternative contact

Dr Rajshri Roy
Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, The University of Auckland

Further information

Approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee on 28/02/2023 for three years.

Reference Number UAHPEC25428.