Content and accuracy of nutrition-related posts in bariatric surgery Facebook support groups

Afton M. Koball, Dylan J. Jester, Marisa A. Pruitt, Rebecca V. Cripe, Jill J. Henschied, Sarah Domoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: Support after bariatric surgery is critical. Access to bariatric support groups is sometimes challenging, leading people to seek support on social media platforms like Facebook. Given the ubiquity of recommendations solicited and provided on Facebook regarding nutrition and bariatric surgery, understanding the content and accuracy of these posts is important. Objectives: The primary aim of the present study was to describe the content of nutrition-related information sought on bariatric Facebook support groups/pages. A secondary aim was to evaluate the accuracy of this content. Setting: Integrated multispecialty health system. Methods: An iterative content analysis process was conducted and resulted in identification of 8 primary coding themes. Additionally, 3 registered dieticians with extensive experience in bariatric surgery and obesity treatment examined posts that provided nutritional recommendations to determine accuracy. Results: Members most commonly sought advice regarding products and practices to assist in achieving nutritional guidelines (35%). Over half of the posts contained inaccurate content or information that was too ambiguous to determine accuracy; 7% of posts were found to be inaccurate or inconsistent with American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery nutrition guidelines and expert registered dietician opinions, 22% of posts were found to contain both accurate and inaccurate information, and 24% of posts were considered too ambiguous and required more context to determine the accuracy. Conclusions: Results highlight the need for bariatric programs to provide greater nutrition education support to patients postoperatively and to provide caution about the inconsistent nature of some nutrition-related content found on Facebook bariatric support groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1897-1902
Number of pages6
JournalSurgery for Obesity and Related Diseases
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • Bariatric support groups
  • Facebook
  • Nutrition
  • Online support groups


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