Population Interest in Information on Obesity, Nutrition, and Occupational Health and Its Relationship with the Prevalence of Obesity: An Infodemiological Study
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ObesityDietFoodAnd nutritionOccupational HealthHealth informationInformation searchInfodemiologyGoogle TrendsBody image
Melián-Fleitas, L.; Franco-Pérez, Á.; Sanz-Valero, J.; Wanden-Berghe, C. Population Interest in Information on Obesity, Nutrition, and Occupational Health and Its Relationship with the Prevalence of Obesity: An Infodemiological Study. Nutrients 2023, 15, 3773. [https://doi.org/ 10.3390/nu15173773]
Objective: To identify and analyze population interest in obesity, nutrition, and occupational health and safety and its relationship with the worldwide prevalence of obesity through information search trends. Method: In this ecological study, data were obtained through online access to Google Trends using the topics “obesity”, “nutrition”, and “occupational health and safety”. Obesity data were obtained from the World Health Organization (WHO) website for crude adult prevalence and estimates by region. The variables studied were relative search volume (RSV), temporal evolution, milestone, trend, and seasonality. The temporal evolution of the search trends was examined by regression analysis (R2). To assess the relationship between quantitative variables, the Spearman correlation coefficient (Rho) was used. Seasonality was verified using the augmented Dickey–Fuller (ADF) test. Results: The RSV trends were as follows: obesity (R2 = 0.04, p = 0.004); nutrition (R2 = 0.42, p < 0.001); and occupational health and safety (R2 = 0.45, p < 0.001). The analysis of seasonality showed the absence of a temporal pattern (p < 0.05 for all terms). The associations between world obesity prevalence (WOP) and the different RSVs were as follows: WOP versus RSV obesity, Rho = −0.79, p = 0.003; WOP versus RSV nutrition, Rho = 0.57, p = 0.044; and WOP versus RSV occupational health and safety, Rho = −0.93, p = 0.001. Conclusions: Population interest in obesity continues to be a trend in countries with the highest prevalence, although there are clear signs popularity loss in favor of searches focused on possible solutions and treatments, with a notable increase in searches related to nutrition and diet. Despite the fact that most people spend a large part of their time in the workplace and that interventions including various strategies have been shown to be useful in combating overweight and obesity, there has been a decrease in the population’s interest in information related to obesity in the workplace. This information can be used as a guide for public health approaches to obesity and its relationship to nutrition and a healthy diet, approaches that are of equal utility and applicability in occupational health.