Fitspiration on Instagram: Identifying Topic Clusters in User Comments to Posts with Objectification Features

Health Commun. 2021 Nov;36(12):1537-1548. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2020.1773702. Epub 2020 Jun 16.


This study aimed to examine features of objectified images in popular fitspiration accounts on social media, identify the most prevalent user discussion topics about these images, and investigate the linkages between specific objectification cues and discussion topics. We employed content analysis to identify gender-specific objectification elements in fitspiration images (N = 2,000) on Instagram and unsupervised topic modeling to uncover topics in user comments (N = 35,263). Multilevel regressions were conducted to examine how gender and objectification features associate with the topics. Results revealed that one-third of the images were objectified. Objectification features such as sexual posing and the presence of objectified chest or abdomen were associated with the occurrence of two out of the three most prominent topic clusters (inspiration, body, and image-related discussions). We concluded that objectified fitspiration may distract users from health goals.

MeSH terms

  • Body Image*
  • Cues
  • Humans
  • Research Personnel
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Social Media*