Do as I Tweet, Not As I Do:  Comparing Physical Activity Data Between Fitness Tweets and Healthy People 2020

The MHealth is a journal for research, validation, and discussion of mobile technology, digital health, and medicine. With assistance from John Breslin from the National University of Ireland Galway, I published original research comparing the self-reported daily physical activity of people who were surveyed through the Healthy People 2020 Survey to the mobile fitness app real-time reporting of physical activity using Twitter. We collected over 1.9 million tweets regarding physical activity recorded from fitness apps shared over twitter from over 160,000 different individuals. The results from the shared fitness app tweets suggest that people actually exhibited lower percentages of achieving both the 150 to 300 and 300+ min levels than is reflected in the Healthy People survey results. Thus, social media has potential in yielding valuable information regarding health and fitness in general populations and improving the way we collect large fitness samples.