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This paper examines the usage of social media for changing health behavior among young Instagram users at a Malaysian public university. A qualitative approach was espoused to investigate this phenomenon. Face-to-face interviews were conducted among the selected Instagram users. Then, a thematic analysis was used to categorize the outcomes from social media application in changing awareness on health behavior among the Instagram users. The study is viewed from a social cognitive theory perspective, and the results demonstrate that all the Instagram users originally started changing their health behavior offline. This means the research participants’ actions were initiated external to the digital media society; and their actions were mainly attributed to the self-awareness on unhealthy physical state. Later, with the use of Instagram, the participants were able to gather health knowledge and effectively achieve their goals to lose weight. The role of Instagram identified in this study was mainly to mediate the process for changing health behavior by providing a platform to search and share health information and to engage in social interactions by seeking feedback on health. This research contributes to behavioral science knowledge by revealing the role of Instagram as a mediator that enables health behavioral change among Malaysian university students.
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