Background

In the past few years, social media use has soared among youth and especially among gym users, yet the influence of social media in relation to body image, eating behavior and physical activity level has not been fully explored. The present study aimed to investigate the effect of social media use and technology dependence on body image and eating behavior among Lebanese gym users.

Methods

A descriptive, cross-sectional design was used. A sample of 200 male and female participants (53% vs. 47% respectively; Mean age= 24.5 ± 7.43) completed a self-report measuring media and technology use and attitudes, eating related variables (e.g., healthy eating and body image dissatisfaction [BID]) and physical activity (PA) variables (e.g., PA duration, frequency, purpose and leisure time physical activities [PA MET]).

Results

Social media use and anxiety of separation from technological devices and dependence on them were associated with increased BID and unhealthy eating. Participants whose main purpose of exercise was to increase muscle mass had lower scores on healthy eating and higher PA MET compared to those who just wanted to lose weight. Participants whose main purpose of exercise was to lose weight had higher scores on body image dissatisfaction compared to those who just wanted to be healthy.

Conclusions

Using social media (instagram, facebook, snapchat and twitter) correlated with unhealthy eating and BID among gym users.