Taken by Hera Hussain

Can social media help improve health/nutrition in Scotland?

My guest blog for the awesome startup ‘Eat Balanced’ producing the world’s first nutritionally balanced pizza – you can view it on their blog or just read it here! 

Type ‘Scotland health wellbeing’ into Google and you are more likely to come across a news article about ‘taxpayers paying £2.6bn for alcohol culture’ to ‘Mars steps away from Scottish deep-fried mars bars street food’ than land on the website for Health Scotland. We feel this is something that can and should be changed. Health and wellbeing plans should include fitness and sport within them.

If you have been following the news – you would have seen one of the international breakthrough stories about Martha Payne, a 9 year old food blogger who was so frustrated with her unhealthy school lunches that she started sharing pictures online alongside a Food-o_meter. This creative young girl has been hosted on various news channels and has had more than a million page views. Even Jamie Oliver sent her a signed copy of his book.

We felt this strongly over a hot cup of coffee when we were thinking about what kind of an event to run for the upcoming Social Media Week Glasgow.

Some facts to show you what inspired us to put on this event

  • A Scottish Health Survey published last autumn found that 27.4% of adults aged 16-64 in Scotland were obese in 2010. In addition, more than 150,000 children were obese and 63% of the population was considered overweight.
  • Mars disowns the deep-fried Mars bar
  • TWO Scots every hour are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes
  • SCOTS can expect to spend a smaller proportion of their lives in good health compared to the rest of the UK, a national study has found.
  • A POWERFUL coalition of doctors, dentists, children’s charities and consumer groups has urged the organisers of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games to ban all sponsorship and advertising from fast-food and fizzy drink companies.

I think you get the picture!

The idea we wanted to bring to Social Media Week Glasgow has been that of a collaborative spirit – a collective wisdom of people passionate about making Scotland healthier.

Good examples of how social media & nutrition collide

There are some fascinating things happening in the digital sphere. I like keeping up with the latest gadgets and the tech gadgets market is booming. Over in the states, Chipotle plans to donate $10,000 to The Lunch Box, a non-profit that empowers schools to make their food programs healthier for every spam email forwarded to a special inbox. Can we think of doing something similar on social media?

1000 Days, by ABC News and the UN Foundation, a new Facebook game that aims to educate people about maternal health. A new startup Foodily pulls in recipes from sites ranging from small food blogs to dominant online recipe publishers like the Food Network.

Perhaps the most well known website is LIVESTRONG.com the online network from the Lance Armstrong Foundation that helps people better their lives with resources for diet, nutrition, and fitness. Livestrong is a great example of a successful online social platform campaign.

Our event

These are the things that are happening and being caught in the media limelight. What we want to do with this event is to brainstorm ways social media could be used specifically for Scotland to help improve nutrition by targeting these groups:

  1. Mums in Control
  2. On the go eating
  3. Kids school lunches
  4. Fitness & motivation

We have already seen the success 5 x 50 challenge has had by encouraging people to walk 5k every day in Glasgow and sharing that on twitter through the #5×50 hashtag. What else can we do? This is a great opportunity

Is this something that you are passionate about? If so, we would love to hear from you in the comments.

To register for the event to participate in the brainstorm, please join us.

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This entry was published on September 13, 2012 at 9:34 am. It’s filed under random, social change, social media and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “Can social media help improve health/nutrition in Scotland?

  1. Howdy! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate!
    He always kept talking about this. I will forward
    this write-up to him. Fairly certain he will
    have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I almost never comment, however i did some searching and wound up here Can social media help improve health/nutrition in Scotland?
    | herahussain. And I actually do have 2 questions for you if it’s allright. Is it only me or does it give the impression like a few of these remarks come across like they are coming from brain dead folks? 😛 And, if you are writing on additional online social sites, I’d like to follow anything fresh you have
    to post. Could you list of every one of all your communal sites
    like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

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