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BRIEF RESEARCH REPORT article

Front. Commun. | doi: 10.3389/fcomm.2021.625906

"Maybe a long fast is good for you": Health Conceptualisations in YouTube Diet Videos Provisionally accepted The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon. Notify me

  • 1Maastricht University, Netherlands
  • 2School CAPHRI, Care and Public Health Research Institute, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Netherlands

In this paper, we study which health conceptualisations are promoted or supported by intermittent fasting, no-carb-no-sugar, and endomorph Diet YouTubers and how they relate to existing definitions of health. In order to openly understand how YouTubers present health concepts, we will study health conceptualisations in YouTube diet videos qualitatively, through the use of thematic analysis. We identify five main themes: weight management, prior dietary awareness, diet literacy, quality of life, and the satisfaction of functional needs. We find that YouTubers substitute the WHO’s pursuit of a complete state of well-being by an implicit, tacit version of new health concepts. The tacit form allows them to stay practical and to focus on real-world dietary concerns, such as answers to the simple question “what should I eat to stay healthy?”. Diet YouTubers do not, however, neatly position themselves within existing health conceptualisations and they offer views on health that move beyond ‘formal’ conceptualisations, including self-inspection, timing, preparation and planning and context-design. Differing from the universal definitions of health, the Diet YouTubers we studied target specific audiences with their presentations of healthy eating.

Keywords: Health, healthy eating, health definitions, youtube, diet videos, intermittent fasting, low carb, Endomorph

Received: 05 Nov 2020; Accepted: 14 Jul 2021.

Copyright: © 2021 Chiu and Penders. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Bart Penders, School CAPHRI, Care and Public Health Research Institute, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, Netherlands, b.penders@maastrichtuniversity.nl