Facebook is an effective strategy to recruit low-income women to online nutrition education

J Nutr Educ Behav. 2013 Jan-Feb;45(1):69-76. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2012.06.006.


Objective: Nutrition education research recruitment expense and effort are substantial; sample selection is crucial for intervention assessment. Effectiveness and cost of Facebook to recruit low-income women to an online nutrition program were examined, including biopsychosocial characteristics of Facebook responders.

Methods: An ad appeared on the Facebook page of low-income women, 18-45 years old, living in Pennsylvania to invite access to an online nutrition program. Eligible persons completed surveys about food-related behaviors including eating competence, food security, and assistance program use.

Results: Of 465 people who clicked on the ad, 81 completed the eligibility survey, and 62 were eligible; 52 completed a preprogram survey. Completers were mostly white (79%), overweight/obese (mean body mass index 36.2 ± 12.9), and not eating competent (75%). Low-income status was identified for 75% (n = 39) of completers. Total recruitment cost over 19 days was $596.71.

Conclusions and implications: Facebook appears to be an effective tool to recruit low-income women to nutrition education projects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Community Participation
  • Diet / psychology*
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology
  • Female
  • Food Preferences / psychology
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Nutritional Sciences / education*
  • Pennsylvania
  • Poverty*
  • Public Assistance
  • Social Media*
  • Young Adult