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Survey results: How social media affects your body image

How does social media affect our fitness, health and body image? We asked our readers, and some of the results may surprise you.

The results are in…
Woman on computer

With social media networks only continuing to get larger, it’s interesting to see how this impacts our own personal fitness and health goals.

We asked our readers everything from whether they use fitness apps to how much weight-related information they share on social media. Here are the results.

The numbers on physical appearance and exercise

Physical appearance:

  • 44 percent would like to lose a few pounds.
  • 32 percent would like to lose 20-plus pounds.
  • 20 percent are at their ideal weight.
  • 2 percent are underweight and would like to gain weight.

Time spent exercising per week:

  • 35 percent spend five to eight hours.
  • 34 percent spend two to four hours.
  • 11 percent do not exercise.
  • 10 percent spend about one hour.
  • 10 percent spend more than nine hours.


  • 98 percent of the respondents are female.
  • 60 percent are 25 to 44 years old.
  • 87 percent are employed or a student.
  • 46 percent are married, 45 percent are single and 9 percent are divorced/widowed/separated.
Woman on laptop

Making it public

While more than half of respondents use apps or other digital applications to track their fitness goals, only 14.8 percent share their results with friends via social media networks.

Almost 69 percent of people we asked do not voluntarily share diet and fitness activities on social media.

Of the 31 percent who don’t share, what are the top reasons? “It feels like bragging” (38.8 percent) and “I’m not proud of the results” (31.5 percent).

Fact: Sharing your fitness and weight-related goals on social media could encourage you to keep going and also inspire those around you!

Do others like when you share?

Surprisingly, they do! Fifty-three percent feel inspired and motivated to be healthier when their friends share updates via social media about their fitness; only 22 percent feel envious.

Users feel more animosity toward celebrities’ diet and fitness updates than those of their friends, so don’t be ashamed to share your progress.

Did you know? Seventy-five percent of respondents are on social media between one and five hours per day.

So, what’s the most common social media platform?

No surprise here – Facebook wins, with 65 percent choosing this as their main means of sharing information.

To sum it up

Overall, social media sites and online communities affect fitness and eating habits positively.

  • 41.9 percent of users feel more motivated to make healthy eating choices.
  • 39 percent are more motivated to work out.
  • 15 percent feel guilty if they don’t stick to their diet and fitness routine.

Shape and SheKnows social media + body infographic

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