JMIR Form Res. 2023 Sep 7;7:e43825. doi: 10.2196/43825.
BACKGROUND: About 59%-73% of Black women do not meet the recommended targets for physical activity (PA). PA is a key modifiable lifestyle factor that can help mitigate risk for chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension that disproportionately affect Black women. Web-based communities focused on PA have been emerging in recent years as web-based gathering spaces to provide support for PA in specific populations. One example is Black Girls Run (BGR), which is devoted to promoting PA in Black women.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to describe the content shared on the BGR public Facebook page to provide insight into how web-based communities engage Black women in PA and inform the development of web-based PA interventions for Black women.
METHODS: Using Facebook Crowdtangle, we collected posts (n=397) and associated engagement data from the BGR public Facebook page for the 6-month period between June 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021. We pooled data in Dedoose to analyze the qualitative data and conducted a content analysis of qualitative data. We quantified types of posts, post engagement, and compared post types on engagement: “like,” “love,” “haha,” “wow,” “care,” “sad,” “angry,” “comments,” and “shares.”
RESULTS: The content analysis revealed 8 categories of posts: shout-outs to members for achievements (n=122, 31%), goals or motivational (n=65, 16%), announcements (n=63, 16%), sponsored or ads (n=54, 14%), health related (n=47, 11%), the lived Black experience (n=23, 6%), self-care (n=15, 4%), and holidays or greetings (n=8, 2%). The 397 posts attracted a total of 55,354 engagements (reactions, comments, and shares). Associations between the number of engagement and post categories were analyzed using generalized linear models. Shout-out posts (n=22,268) elicited the highest average of total user engagement of 181.7 (SD 116.7), followed by goals or motivational posts (n=11,490) with an average total engagement of 160.1 (SD 125.2) and announcements (n=7962) having an average total engagement of 129.9 (SD 170.7). Significant statistical differences were found among the total engagement of posts (χ72=80.99, P<.001), “like” (χ72=119.37, P<.001), “love” (χ72=63.995, P<.001), “wow” (χ72=23.73, P<.001), “care” (χ72=35.06, P<.001), “comments” (χ72=80.55, P<.001), and “shares” (χ72=71.28, P<.001).
CONCLUSIONS: The majority of content on the BGR Facebook page (n=250, 63%) was focused on celebrating member achievements, motivating members to get active, and announcing and promoting active events. These types of posts attracted 75% of total post engagement. BGR appears to be a rich web-based community that offers social support for PA as well as culturally relevant health and social justice content. Web-based communities may be uniquely positioned to engage minoritized populations in health behavior. Further research should explore how and if web-based communities such as BGR can be interwoven into health interventions and health promotion.