Obesity can lead to the death of at least 2.8 million people each year1, yet the rate of obesity around the world has continuously increased over the past 30 years1. Societal changes, including increased food consumption and decreased physical activity, have been determined as two of the main drivers behind the current obesity pandemic2. Examining socio-cultural factors (i.e., attitudes or perceptions of cultural groups)3 associated with food consumption and weight loss can provide important insights to guide effective interventions and a novel surveillance approach to characterize population obesity trends from sociological perspectives. The primary goal of this study is to examine socio-cultural factors associated with food consumption and weight loss by conducting sentiment analysis on related online chatters. The secondary goal is to discuss the potential implications of being exposed to these different chatters in the online environment. Scientific evidence in support of using social media to understand socio-cultural factors and its potential implications can be illustrated in two concise assertions. First, online chatters, including discussions on social media, have been shown to be an effective data source for understanding public interests4,5. Second, prolonged participation in social media has been suggested to have impacts on users6-8.
Objective: We aim to better understand socio-cultural factors (i.e., attitudes or perceptions of cultural groups) associated with food consumption and weight loss via sentiment analysis on tweets, short messages from Twitter.