5 TikTok health trends taking over Gen Z’s For You page
Friday, July 14, 2023
With nearly one billion users worldwide, TikTok has become one of the most influential apps on the internet. It controls the latest trends — from the next top 40 hit, to the hottest fashion choices and what you should order at Starbucks. With 40% of its users between the ages of 18 and 24, according to data from Statista, this impressionable audience is now turning to TikTok for health advice.
Videos focusing on what to eat or drink, new workout trends, health "hacks" and how to manage mental health can all be found flooding "For You" pages, proving TikTok has evolved into much more than a lip-syncing app. Here are five trends, with varying positive and negative effects on users, you are bound to see on "HealthTok."
1. Food Sustainability
Gen Z users have a keen interest in food-related TikToks. They prioritize environmental friendliness, are concerned about where their food comes from and want to understand how it impacts their quality of life, according to a report from EIT Food. Because of this interest, content focused on sustainable food brands, vegan diets and meat alternatives continues to gain popularity.
In a viral video garnering over seven million views and one million likes, @BlohmTreezy shares how he created a fully sustainable food group at home, and his process of growing microgreens to create a sustainable food loop in his community.
Over half of Gen Zers use technology to track their daily eating habits. EIT Food reports that 82% of women in this age group report an interest in food's effect on mental health.
Given this data, it's no surprise that the #WhatIEatInaDay trend has gained so much traction.
This hashtag includes fitness instructors documenting what they eat to stay in shape, people with eating disorders showing what they eat in recovery and everyday individuals monitoring their daily eating habits just for fun. While it can seem harmless at first, health officials warn that these videos can be damaging to young people's eating habits, body image and mental health.
A recent study examined more than 1,000 videos under the #WhatIEatInaDay. Researchers found that less than 3% of the videos were weight-inclusive, and set unattainable or unrealistic goals. Each body's daily calorie needs are different, varying by age, sex, activity level and other factors.
3. The 12-3-30 Challenge
Workout videos have been around since the '80s, so it's no wonder they have found their way over to TikTok. The app lends itself well for showcasing quick at-home workouts, high-energy dance routines and different challenges to tackle in the gym.
The 12-3-30 workout has gathered plenty of buzz online. In this treadmill exercise, an individual increases the incline level to 12%, dials up the pace to 3 mph and then walks for 30 minutes. The concept went viral thanks to influencer Lauren Giraldo, who shared it on TikTok in November 2020, where the video explaining the workout has over 12 million views.
Adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, and two days of muscle strengthening activity. Incorporating this workout into one's routine could help make that goal more attainable.
4. "Dry Scooping"
One TikTok trend that gym-goers should stay away from? Dry scooping.
Some people have claimed that dry scooping – dumping pre-workout or protein powder directly into your mouth without water – can help your body absorb the compounds faster, producing a better workout. But these claims are not rooted in science.
"This may mislead millions of impressionable minors into improper use of pre-workout, which could lead to respiratory or cardiovascular distress and/or death," according to a study presented at the 2021 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition.
While these videos were gathering thousands of views a year ago, users are now met with a safety warning page when trying to search the topic.
5. Mental Health
One in 6 Gen Zers use TikTok as a search engine, according to the Pew Research Center, and the term "mental health" has been searched 67 billion times on the app as of 2023. With qualified therapists being expensive or hard to find, many young people search for answers on social media platforms where the answers are not only abundant, but also free. However, that doesn't mean they're accurate.
While reputable, mental health professionals and advocates can be found on TikTok, only 9% of profiles on the platform with the #mentalhealthadvice or #mentalhealthtips hashtags had relevant qualifications, according to a recent study.
Mental health awareness is important, and while the rise in this content reflects a changing attitude and growing acceptance of discussing these issues openly, it is important for users to verify advice, and not equate watching these videos to therapy.
TikTok content reflects the interests of its users, and health-related content is expected to grow as younger generations look to social media for information and advice on food, a healthy well-being, sustainability, and so much more.
- Best exercises for gluteus medius strengthening
- The importance of hip internal rotation
- Pectoralis minor: Far from a minor problem
- The top 5 exercises you should be doing
- Trails for two-wheelers: A look at the United States Bicycle Route System
- 7 terrible exercises for people over 40
- Designing for celebrities: How career and technical education teachers motivate students
- Tight calf muscles: The Achilles’ heel of new runners