#FoodPorn: Obesity patterns in culinary interactions

Yelena Mejova, Hamed Haddadi, Anastasios Noulas, Ingmar Weber

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

55 Citations (Scopus)


We present a large-scale analysis of Instagram pictures taken at 164,753 restaurants by millions of users. Motivated by the obesity epidemic in the United States, our aim is three-fold: (i) to assess the relationship between fast food and chain restaurants and obesity, (ii) to better understand people's thoughts on and perceptions of their daily dining experi-ences, and (iii) to reveal the nature of social reinforcement and approval in the context of dietary health on social me-dia. When we correlate the prominence of fast food restau-rants in US counties with obesity, we find the Foursquare data to show a greater correlation at 0.424 than official sur-vey data from the County Health Rankings would show. Our analysis further reveals a relationship between small businesses and local foods with better dietary health, with such restaurants getting more attention in areas of lower obesity. However, even in such areas, social approval favors the unhealthy foods high in sugar, with donut shops produc-ing the most liked photos. Thus, the dietary landscape our study reveals is a complex ecosystem, with fast food playing a role alongside social interactions and personal perceptions, which often may be at odds.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationACM International Conference Proceeding Series
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781450334921
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2015
Event5th International Conference on Digital Health, DH 2015 - Florence, Italy
Duration: 18 May 201520 May 2015


Other5th International Conference on Digital Health, DH 2015



  • Dietary Health
  • Fast Food
  • Food Perception
  • Foursquare
  • Instagram
  • Obesity
  • Social Approval
  • Social Media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Software

Cite this

Mejova, Y., Haddadi, H., Noulas, A., & Weber, I. (2015). #FoodPorn: Obesity patterns in culinary interactions. In ACM International Conference Proceeding Series (Vol. 2015-May, pp. 51-58). Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/2750511.2750524