Young people, social media and healthy eating – a systematic review of a consumer power shift

Published by communicatinghealth on

Presented at the Annual Macromarketing Conference 2018

The Annual Marcomarketing Conference 2018. The Macromarketing Society’s aim is to encourage, facilitate and help disseminate matters related to macromarketing.

By virtue of our focus, we believe that certain propositions deeply matter and their manifestations affect everyone, globally.


Prof Linda Brennan, Ms Dang Nguyen & Dr Lukas Parker



Young people are increasingly creating their own global micro-social structures that supersede macro-level national or governmental dynamics (Geels, 2004) . As a consequence, the power structure for change is shifting away from patriarchal government interventions to individually empowered post-consumers (Fırat & Dholakia, 2006) engaging with each other to fulfil their own needs (Willis et al., 2017; Yonker, Zan, Scirica, Jethwani, & Kinane, 2015) . This paper describes a shift in health seeking behaviours for young adults, particularly with regards to food and nutrition. Young adults are notoriously challenging to recruit into research studies and to engage in health promotion interventions. However, many are engaging with food industry and other lifestyle “gurus” on social media, whose online presence requires active co-creation of value from their consumer base. Using a systematic review approach, this paper ties together disparate literatures in order to understand how young adults are engaging and connecting on social media, particularly with regard to health and healthy eating. We propose that co-creation, a bottom-up approach involving young adults in creating health messages, is likely to be a more effective strategy to engage young adults in health promotion campaigns.


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