In recent years, the rise of social media has given birth to a new variant of key opinion leaders: medical influencers, or medfluencers. Sharing their own expertise and knowledge for free, medfluencers have emerged as a trusted source on the latest health news and policies, especially over the COVID-19 pandemic.
While there are some criticisms on medfluencers, such as the possibility for misinformation from unqualified people, their positive impact cannot be denied. Besides credible information, medfluencers can inspire their followers to make smarter choices and adopt healthier lifestyles. In this article, we explore 10 ways medfluencers can benefit their viewers’ health:
1. Providing reliable health information
At the height of the pandemic, organizations like the World Health Organizations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, played a critical role in coordinating international response and providing guidance to governments and healthcare organizations around the world. However, this doesn’t mean that smaller medfluencers didn’t have their stake in keeping citizens safe and informed. Be it local individuals or global organizations, various health experts have been helping viewers navigate information overload and provide timely, accurate, and evidence-based knowledge.
2. Educating viewers about disease prevention
Medfluencers can share information about the importance of preventative health measures such as vaccinations, cancer screenings, and regular checkups.
3. Encouraging regular physical activity
In fact, a 2022 study found that US adults who viewed health-related YouTube videos were 1.33 times more likely to meet the WHO–recommended level of physical activity. Medfluencers, especially those who specialize in fitness and wellness, provide guidance on different types of physical activities and routines that can help viewers maintain a healthy weight, improve their cardiovascular health, and boost their mood.
4. Providing mental health support
Riyan Portuguez is a licensed psychologist who creates content that advocates for mental health, sharing small to big ways her viewers can care for theirs. Medfluencers like her offer advice on managing stress, anxiety, and depression, and provide resources for viewers to seek professional help if needed.
5. Providing guidance on quitting harmful habits
When it comes to offering support and strategies for quitting harmful habits, medfluencers have got viewers covered. Their content can regularly remind people to avoid activities like smoking, excessive drinking, or drug use.
6. Sharing self-care practices
Most people would think that self-care is limited to using expensive products and subscribing to a certain idealized lifestyle. Medfluencers can offer more holistic advice on mindfulness, relaxation techniques, and other self-care practices that can help viewers manage stress and improve their overall well-being.
7. Encouraging regular medical checkups
Medfluencers can emphasize the importance of regular medical checkups and offer tips for choosing healthcare providers and making the most of appointments. Some experts, like Dr. Sandra Lee (best known as Dr. Pimple Popper to the people of the internet), always make it a point to remind viewers that their content is not a substitute for proper medical care, and urge those who may need it to seek treatment.
8. Promoting healthy eating habits
Medfluencers can share information about healthy foods, portion control, and meal planning to help viewers make healthier food choices. Miranda Galati, a registered dietician on Instagram, regularly provides meal prep ideas and tips on how people can develop better relationships with food.
9. Advocating for public health policies
Medfluencers can advocate for policies and initiatives that promote quality healthcare for all and support healthy behaviors, such as bike-friendly infrastructure, access to nutritious food, and public parks. For instance, Dr. Tony Leachon is a prominent local influencer and former public official who is known for his frequent commentary in the media on a wide range of health-related issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic and health policy.
10. Offering community support
Lastly, medfluencers are able to create communities of viewers. Together, they support each other in making healthy choices, providing accountability, and promoting social connections.
ALSO READ: How medfluencers are changing the face of patient education
Medfluencers have the ability to create supportive communities and share evidence-based information across multiple platforms, ensuring a wider and more diverse reach in audiences. Thus, they have the potential to help millions of people make positive changes in their lives and achieve better health outcomes.
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