A professor at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has received a grant to study the impact social media has on Black women’s health.

The research will focus specifically on younger generations who have grown up with social media sites such as Instagram and TikTok. The four-year grant will examine how social media messaging emphasizing physical appearance impacts the diet and fitness habits of Black women.

Grant recipient Kalynda Smith, an assistant professor of psychology at N.C. A&T, notes there has been little research that looks at how these messages influence the self-esteem and health habits of Generation Z, roughly between the ages of 16 and 25.

Smith says she believes the research can be used as a preventative measure to help combat chronic conditions such as diabetes, which disproportionately impacts the Black community.

"I hope that I will be able to discern what types of messages work to help Black women increase their fitness activities [and] increase healthy food consumption, especially young women who are likely to use social media the most," says Smith. 

The grant of nearly $546,000 was awarded by a division of the National Institutes of Health.

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