On the first day of class each semester, I ask students where they get their information when it comes to health and fitness. The answers always vary. About six years ago I learned that the primary source was *GASP* Instagram. Social media in general continues to be the main place my students go to get information. Luckily, they are in school and pursing a degree so they learn about peer reviewed science and meta analysis, however, the general public doesn’t necessarily have that luxury. So, I always share these questions that you should ask yourself as you sort through what I call the “health and fitness industry fog of misleading information”.
- Who is the author and what are their credentials? Just because they lost a lot of weight or appear fit doesn’t mean they know anything about physiology or risks associated with a complicated medical history. Do some research on their background
- Is the author being paid? This can be a conflict of interest. Of course they are going to promote a product if they are being paid for it! It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe or effective.
- Is the information current? The field of exercise science and nutrition are constantly evolving as new research emerges. Try to double check a reliable source to see if you can verify it. (I will list some great places to fact check down below).
- Is the information that is being shared a verifiable fact, or a personal testimony?
- Does your common sense tell you that something doesn’t add up? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
I have written about supplements in the past. Some can be dangerous so you want to do your homework. My main purpose for this post is safety and I want to encourage everyone to be more critical about who they choose to “follow”. It’s not a bad idea to start to weed through your feed and get rid of those sources they are less-than-credible. Here are some professional associations and organizations you can use to fact check your “influencers”.