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A thematic content analysis of #cheatmeal images on social media: Characterizing an emerging dietary trend

Pila, E, Mond, JM ORCID: 0000-0002-0410-091X, Griffiths, S, Mitchison, D and Murray, SB 2017 , 'A thematic content analysis of #cheatmeal images on social media: Characterizing an emerging dietary trend' , The International journal of eating disorders, vol. 50, no. 6 , pp. 698-706 , doi: 10.1002/eat.22671.

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Abstract

Despite the pervasive social endorsement of “cheat meals” within pro-muscularity online communities,there is an absence of empirical work examining this dietary phenomenon. The present studyaimed to characterize cheat meals, and explore the meaning ascribed to engagement in this practice.Thematic content analysis was employed to code the photographic and textual elements of asample (n 5 600) that was extracted from over 1.6 million images marked with the #cheatmeal tagon the social networking site, Instagram. Analysis of the volume and type of food revealed thepresence of very large quantities (54.5%) of calorie-dense foods (71.3%) that was rated to qualifyas an objective binge episode. Photographic content of people commonly portrayed highlymuscularbodies (60.7%) in the act of intentional body exposure (40.0%). Meanwhile, textual contentexemplified the idealization of overconsumption, a strict commitment to fitness, and a rewardbasedframework around diet and fitness. Collectively, these findings position cheat meals as goalorienteddietary practices in the pursuit of physique-ideals, thus underscoring the potential clinicalrepercussions of this socially-endorsed dietary phenomenon.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Pila, E and Mond, JM and Griffiths, S and Mitchison, D and Murray, SB
Keywords: Binge eating, Cheat meal, Content analysis, Eating disorders
Journal or Publication Title: The International journal of eating disorders
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Inc
ISSN: 0276-3478
DOI / ID Number: 10.1002/eat.22671
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2017 Wiley Periodicals

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