The presentation of gut microbiome-based personalized nutrition on the internet: simple and accessible complex and inaccessible

Katharine Lee, Russell Davies, Julie Barnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The gut microbiome is related to health and wellbeing, although the precise nature of the relationship and the involvement of and interaction with other factors is not fully understood. In this context, private companies are providing gut microbiome-based personalized nutrition services on the internet. Framed by social representation theory, we conducted an analysis of the websites of 27 companies offering direct-to-consumer personalized nutrition based on the microbiome, to understand how they communicate to prospective consumers. We found that through imagery, metaphor, and personification, companies simultaneously position the gut microbiome, and gut microbiome-based personalized nutrition, as simple and accessible and complex and inaccessible. Highly medicalized content in the main web pages is negated in often peripheral disclaimer sections.
Original languageEnglish
Article number974973
JournalFrontiers in Communication
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Data availability statement:
The raw data supporting the conclusions of this article will be made available by the authors upon request.

Funding:
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 816303 (https://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/symbols/flag_en).

Keywords

  • gut microbiome
  • health
  • health communication
  • internet
  • personalized nutrition
  • social representation theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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