Robyn Drummond, who organized a seminar in November to raise awareness about diet culture and food nutrition, says that social media negatively affects people’s perspective on diet culture and healthy living.
Robyn said: “I think there’s a big increase in the trend of young people being more at risk of this because I think social media has its benefits of course but it’s also becoming more popular. “People are getting phones at a younger age and it’s being discussed more in schools.
“I see influencers promoting things like fat loss injections to a follower base of 30,000 followers, and you see that and think about how negatively this can impact young people.”
According to National Review of Eating Disorder Services In 2021, there had been a significant increase in the annual incidence of anorexia nervosa among ten to fourteen year olds over the previous seven years.
Robyn recently traveled to Lochgelly Primary School to give a talk on body confidence to children in primary seven. He asked young people what makes a person inspiring.
Robyn said, “Everyone, especially the girls, wrote: beautiful teeth, beautiful bodies, waking up early and doing things like ‘what do I eat a day’ and I thought, is this what people aspire to be?” said Robyn.
‘What I eat in a day’ videos are popular short videos on Instagram and TikTok where a person shows their followers all the meals and snacks they eat.
“It was so scary that this was happening in the younger generation as well, but also that a lot of the women I help between the ages of 35 and 55 were really harmed by diet culture.”
Fad diets are something Robyn also worries about. These types of diets promote rapid weight loss, but often people will find the weight returns quickly because these types of diets are not long-term.
Robyn added: “Fad diets cause rapid fat loss and this is unsustainable. Therefore, a person would be unlikely to maintain this level of fat loss for a long time so they could start something very quickly and then see great physical results.”
“They may be improving their health and well-being, but they can’t sustain it because it doesn’t fit their lifestyle.”
Robyn is also working with Fife Council to potentially develop future programs in schools. If they continue, it will be an eight-week after-school program that will discuss exercise, nutrition and all things body confidence.
The aim of these sessions will be to educate students about health and wellbeing so that they can determine what is right and what is wrong when they encounter online content.
“There is no nutrition education, no one warns anyone about what they see, there is just a lack of knowledge on the subject.
“People learn how to cook a meal or a very simple meal or take basic cooking classes, but no one understands what protein is or what carbohydrates are or why fat is not bad for you and carbohydrates are good to eat.
“The most important energy source you need right now! “I’ve never learned any of this, and it’s not even about fat loss, it’s just about having a healthy relationship with food,” Robyn added.
Robyn hopes to begin these programs in January if she is successful in securing funding.