THE EFFECTS OF VIEWING FOOD IMAGES ON SOCIAL MEDIA ON SWEETNESS PERCEPTION OF UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
Introduction: Epidemic of obesity in Malaysia comes to a serious stage that leads to a concern of sugar intake under the influence of food-related social media accounts. It is relevant to study the association of social media on sugar sensitivity due to the rising of obesity epidemic along with the advancement of media nowadays. Aims: The objectives of this study were to measure the prevalence of viewing food-based Instagram account followed, to evaluate the relationship between viewing food-based Instagram account followed and anthropometry measurement and to assess the influence of viewing food images on Instagram on sweetness perception. Method: A total of 100 subjects among IIUM students were recruited. Methodology used in this quantitative study was cross sectional experimental study design. Demographic information, anthropometric data such as height, weight and body fat percentage as well as number and percentage of food-based account followed on Instagram were recorded before subjects proceed with the test drink. Subjects were required to taste a sample of standard dilution liquid that contain 15g of sugar in 250 ml water which is prepared in disposable cup before and after viewing food-related accounts followed. Subjects then will rate the sweetness perceived on Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) each time after test drink. The score of VAS before and after Instagram-viewing were analyzed using SPSS version 25. Results: Median percentage of subjects who followed food-based account on Instagram was 0.64%, ranging from 1 to 30 accounts. The relationship between food-related Instagram account followed and anthropometry measurement is not significant. However, present study found that there is significant correlation between the percentage of food-related Instagram account followed and sweetness perception. Conclusion: This research indicates that the association of social media viewing could increase the sweetness perception of university students that may lead to the overconsumption of food intake.
KEYWORDS: Obesity, Food-related social media account, Instagram, Sweetness perception, Visual Analogue Scale