Unsolicited Health Advice

By Amelia Lipcsei

As TikTok, the worldwide social media app, continues to grow at staggering rates, people all over the world willingly participate in major trends. However, some videos that go viral hold messages that can be extremely harmful to TikTok’s teenage dominated demographic . For example, “what I eat in a day,” a major trend that ensued within the past year, and “weight-loss tips” filled a large portion of peoples For-You pages. Although the trends usually don’t harbor ill intentions, the reactions and duets to these videos by unqualified individuals created a horribly harmful environment.  

Starting with duets on other people’s food related videos, people without a degree in nutrition —or any degree at all for that matter— began to comment on portion sizes, calories, and nutritional value. The spread of false information from individuals without the necessary education began to take over TikTok, causing many to follow  wrong or unnecessary health advice from strangers. Even worse, in attempts to permeate their incorrect knowledge onto others, certain individuals claim that they hold the qualifications to advise people on their health. Huge TikTokers found themselves in severe scandals after allegations of their ingenuity arose. However, even with the right knowledge, people should never offer unsolicited, specific health advice on an app with such a wide variety of people using it; some diets or workouts may work for some, but they may put others at risk for even worse nutritional consequences. 

Likewise, the “weight-loss tips” trend all over TikTok also caused worrisome effects. Many individuals who used ulterior methods to lose weight recommend their own workout plans to others. Hopping on the bandwagon, many workout “influencers” started scamming their viewers into purchasing their expensive and useless workout plans. Without the proper education and training behind them, these recommended training styles resulted in either negative or inadequate effects for those who fell victim to the false information. 

The best ways to combat these harmful messages include reporting videos, spreading awareness, and educating yourself on the best ways to avoid falling for incorrect and potentially hazardous health tips. With great power comes great responsibility, and unfortunately TikTok lacks the resources to put a stop to the majority of dangerous trends, resulting in an unsafe viewing experience for the millions of users on the app.