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”.
National Strength and Conditioning Association
American College of Sports Medicine
IDEA Fitness Association
American Dietetics Association
Nancy Clark, RD
Feel free to head over to our Instagram or Twitter to look through some of the organizations and people we follow too.