A Fife fitness instructor has expressed her concerns about the impact of social media on young peoples’ health.

Robyn Drummond, who is holding a seminar in November to raise awareness on diet culture and food nutrition, says that social media is having a negative impact on how people view diet culture and wellbeing.

Robyn said: “I think there is a massive increase for young people to be more at risk of this now because I think, obviously social media has its benefits, but at the same time it’s becoming more popular. People are getting phones at a younger age and it’s more discussed in schools.

“I see influencers promoting things like fat loss injections to a follower base of 30,000 followers, and you think how negatively that can impact young people by seeing that.”

According to the National Review of Eating Disorder Services in 2021, there had been a significant increase in the annual incidence of anorexia nervosa among ten to fourteen year olds in the seven years prior.

Robyn recently went to Lochgelly Primary School to deliver a talk on body confidence to the children in primary seven. She asked the young people about what makes somebody inspirational.

“Everybody, especially girls, had wrote: nice teeth, nice bodies, they get up early and they do all this ‘what I eat in a day stuff’ and I thought, is this what people are aspiring to be?" Robyn said.

'What I eat in a day' videos are popular short videos on Instagram and TikTok where a person shows their followers all the meals and snacks they eat. 

"It was just so terrifying that it’s becoming in the younger generation, but also a lot of the women I help who are kind of between 35 and 55, that they’ve also been really harmed by diet culture.”

Fad diets are something that Robyn is also concerned about. These types of diets promote fast weight loss, but often people will find that the weight quickly returns as these types of diets are not long-term.

Robyn added: “Fad diets create fast fat loss and it’s unsustainable. So, the person will unlikely be able to maintain that level of fat loss for a long time, so they may be able to start something very quickly then they may see physical results which is great.

They may be improving their health and well-being but then they cannot maintain that because it doesn’t fit into their lifestyle.”

Robyn has also been working with Fife Council to potentially develop future programmes within schools. If they do go ahead, this would be an after-school programme that would be a block of eight weeks to discuss all things exercise, nutrition and body confidence.

These sessions would aim to educate pupils on health and well-being so they can determine what is right and what isn’t when they come across content online.

“There’s no nutrition education at all, no-one is warning anybody about the stuff that they may see, there’s just such a lack of information around it.

“People learn how to cook a meal, or a very basic meal or have basic cooking lessons, but nobody understands what protein is or what carbohydrates are, or why fat is not bad for you and carbohydrates are fine to eat.

“Actually, it’s the most important energy source that you need! I never learned any of that, and that’s not even in relation to fat loss that’s just having a healthy relationship to food.” Robyn added.

Robyn hopes to start these programmes in January if she is successful with getting the funding for it.