Strong is the new skinny: A content analysis of fitspiration websites.
Abstract “Fitspiration” websites are media that aim to inspire people to live healthy and fit lifestyles through motivating images and text related to exercise and diet. Given the link between similar Internet content (i.e., healthy living blogs) and problematic messages, we hypothesized that content on these sites would over-emphasize appearance and promote problematic messages regarding exercise and diet. Keywords “fitspo” and “fitspiration” were entered into search engines. The first 10 images and text from 51 individual websites were rated on a variety of characteristics. Results indicated that a majority of messages found on fitspiration websites focused on appearance. Other common themes included content promoting exercise for appearance-motivated reasons and content promoting dietary restraint. “Fitspiration” websites are a source of messages that reinforce over-valuation of physical appearance, eating concerns, and excessive exercise. Further research is needed to examine the impact viewing such content has on participants’ psychological health.