Author ORCID Identifier
Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Anita Nucci, PhD, RD, LD
Leslie Knapp Mack, MS, RDN, LD
Molly Paulson, MS, RD, LD
Background: College students are at increased risk for disordered eating. Yoga can be a treatment tool in the form of positive embodiment, increased body awareness, body responsiveness, body satisfaction, body image and esteem, and intuitive eating. Millennials and Generation Z (Gen-Z) prefer smartphones as a way of communication and learning. However, little research exists on the effect of social media-based yoga interventions on disordered eating patterns in college-aged students. The purpose of this study is to evaluate if yoga on a social media platform (Instagram) in addition to nutrition counseling will reduce disordered eating behaviors in college students at Georgia State University (GSU) compared to nutrition counseling alone.
Methods: Participants were recruited through GSU social media accounts, nutrition courses, and Student Nutrition Services and randomized into the control or yoga group. The yoga group completed three weeks of daily yoga for 1-3 minutes via Instagram in addition to three nutrition counseling sessions with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). The control group completed three nutrition counseling sessions with an RDN only. All participants completed the Eating Attitudes Test -26 item (EAT-26) and a survey (demographics, student status, hours/day on social media, hours/week of physical activity, yoga level) at baseline. The EAT-26 was completed again at the end of the 3- week intervention period.
Results: Nine students completed the EAT-26 and survey then were randomized. Five students (all female, 80% novice yoga practitioners) completed the study (control n=2; yoga n=3). Instagram and YouTube were the most frequently used social media platforms. Both participants in the control group and two of three participants in the yoga group had a decrease in EAT-26 scores from baseline to postintervention. However, median EAT-26 scores at baseline vs. after the intervention did not differ significantly in either group.
Conclusions: Decreases in EAT-26 scores after the intervention revealed clinical significance but were not statistically significant. The three nutrition counseling sessions may have contributed to the decrease in scores more than the yoga. Future research should include a larger population as well as an assessment of acceptability of the yoga intervention on a social media platform to help build an effective yoga program to promote protective factors for disordered eating behavior in college-aged students
Pearson, Melissa A., "Association between Mindful Movement Yoga on a Social Media Platform and Disordered Eating Patterns in College Students: a Pilot Study." Thesis, Georgia State University, 2022.
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