First Advisor

Lauren Frank

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Communication Studies and University Honors




Celebrities -- Health and hygiene, Online social networks, Mass media and culture, Health promotion, Twitter




According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the majority of the US population is overweight. Researchers have attributed the increase of people being overweight to a change in diet and a lack of exercise. Because physical activity is attributed to being a large component of maintaining a healthy weight, this paper analyzes how often celebrities’ posts on Twitter and Instagram refer to physical activity. Social media was examined with regard to social cognitive theory which suggests that individuals can learn by observing. A content analysis was conducted of posts about physical activity from the top 30 most followed celebrities on Twitter and Instagram. The study found that celebrities posted about physical activity more frequently on Instagram than Twitter. This may be attributed to Instagram being a more visual medium which allows celebrities to show off. Social cognitive theory suggests that individuals are more likely to mimic a behavior if they observe the behavior being rewarded and for this reason the benefits and drawbacks the celebrities mentioned were examined. The most common benefits of physical activity mentioned were: physical attractiveness, completing a goal, health, fun, spirituality and non-specific. Only two drawbacks were mentioned: time consumption and that physical activity can be tiring. Of the top 30 most followed celebrities on Twitter and Instagram male celebrities posted about physical activity and the benefit of physical attractiveness more often than females.


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