A new report suggests that the amount of time you spend on social media could influence your health status.
In a survey of more than 200,000 Americans, researchers found that people who regularly share their health information online are much more likely to be healthier than those who don’t.
They also tend to be more likely than those without online social media to report symptoms of health problems.
“What you’re actually sharing is the information, and what you’re saying is that you’re going to have a certain number of people that you know are going to be very ill,” said Dr. Karen Kesselheim, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and one of the study’s authors.
People who shared their health online also tended to be older, female, and white.
“There are many social media users who do not necessarily share their illness information with anyone,” Kessel, the study author, told The Huffington Post.
“And that can make it more difficult for those who are not using social media in a social setting to be able to do a comprehensive health evaluation of their health status.”
Social media has been around for decades, but has become a big part of the health care system in recent years.
“It’s like a digital version of an office visit, except that you get to sit in a small office with a large amount of people,” said Kessel.
“I think that this is the next big frontier for health care.”
Kessel said she was surprised by the findings because she had been researching the subject for nearly 20 years.
She says the study showed that people’s social media use is a risk factor for both chronic conditions and depression.
“People who have a lot of social media, who engage in lots of social sharing, tend to have higher levels of depression and anxiety,” Kesselfold said.
“The idea that they are not likely to get sick from their social media habits but they are potentially more vulnerable to depression and other health conditions and potentially more likely not to be as productive or as healthy as they could be is a real concern.”
Kessiel says social media is a new area of research that needs to be explored further.
“We’re not even at the point where we know that we’re doing anything about it yet,” Kessonheim said.
The study, published in the journal Epidemiology, surveyed more than 20,000 people in the United States.
Kessel explained that the participants were surveyed via the Internet using an online survey platform, and the results are not meant to be scientific.
“These questions were not designed to be scientifically validated,” Kesse said.
Instead, the survey was designed to gauge the extent to which people’s health information was shared with friends, family, and colleagues.
In the future, Kessel says the researchers hope to examine whether people who share information online, and who have other health problems, are more likely in general to be depressed, have a higher risk of heart disease, or have some other chronic disease.