Animals Health

Sharing health education and exercise videos on TikTok to prevent sarcopenia

A social-media-based health education plus exercise programme (SHEEP)

Despite the comparatively high prevalence of possible sarcopenia among adults who are in the young-older age category (aged 60-69 years) in the community, there is currently no available and effective social media-based intervention to increase the awareness and behaviour of the target population to prevent sarcopenia. Using the co-design methodology, we developed a multicomponent intervention strategy of health education and exercise for sarcopenia prevention using the TikTok platform. The primary purpose of this study is to examine the feasibility and acceptability of the SHEEP intervention to enhance muscle function in community-dwelling young older adults with possible sarcopenia.

Senior man training indoors
Senior man training indoors. © auremar /

The prospective single-arm pre-post feasibility study employing a mixed-method design is planned to be conducted between November 2023 and April 2024. A group of adults aged 60-69 years with possible sarcopenia will be recruited from two communities in Changsha, China. Participants will be required to view a total of seven health education videos on TikTok in the first week with each video lasting 4 to 6 minutes. Then, participants will receive a 9-week multi-component moderate-intensity exercise program through TikTok and are expected to complete at least three sessions per week of 30 minutes per session. Finally, a 9-week follow-up will be conducted.

Is using TikTok feasible and acceptable?

Data collection will be conducted at baseline, post-intervention and the follow-up period. The primary outcome will include evaluating recruitment capability, data collection procedure, outcome measurement, intervention procedures’ acceptability, and the researchers’ ability to manage and implement the study. The secondary outcome is to compare standard measures for muscle function (e.g. handgrip strength, skeletal muscle mass, physical performance), body composition (e.g. body fat, body mass index, bone minerals), and other measures (e.g. perceived knowledge, personal motivation, behavioural skills). Finally, all participants will be offered a semi-structured interview to assess their in-depth experiences with the intervention and research process.

Senior woman using a smartphone sitting in a waiting room
Senior woman using a smartphone sitting in a waiting room. © [M] JackF /

This study will be the first social-media-based multicomponent intervention program for community-dwelling young older adults with possible sarcopenia. Findings will generate new evidence regarding the use of social media in health education for improving muscle function and awareness of sarcopenia prevention, as well as the feasibility of using social media to influence participants’ behavioural changes through exercise.

This may help researchers identify new ways to optimise the acceptability and efficacy of the SHEEP intervention for the targeted population.

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