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Can Facebook Replace the DMV?

“I lost 10 lbs last month.”


First Lady Michelle Obama promotes healthier eating habits across the nation’s youth. But as with countless public health campaigns waged by state and local agencies, such efforts don’t always do much to get people to change their habits. But would people be more responsive to the urging of their Facebook friends? Elizabeth DeRobertis, a dietician at Scarsdale Medical Group, recommends something along the lines of a social calorie calculator. The site already has options for people to list their “new eating habits” and “weight loss.” But Kevin Flynn, president of Healthcare Advocates, says a bigger calorie-counting push could raise privacy issues, too: “What would an insurance company do if they found that your weight differed from what you put on the insurance application?” And studies show calorie counting does not necessarily change behavior. One 2011 survey concluded that only one-in-six New Yorkers counted calories before eating. DeRobertis says it’s worth a shot: the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says nearly 36% of Americans are obese.



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