Visualizing Obesity: Youtube, Pinterest, and Flickr


In my exploration of using multimedia tools for public health I recognized a common feeling that has been reoccurring over the course of this course, overwhelm. So many videos, so many pictures, and SO many infographics! To organize my brain and my searching I picked a public health topic of my own personal interest, obesity and more specifically when needed, childhood obesity. I found the tools I explored, Youtube, Pinterest, and Flickr to be useful in different ways, each offering something another tool did not.

1) Youtube

This random little video is from the Oprah Winfrey Network. 🙂 It documents the struggles of a 12 year old girl who weighs over 325 pounds. It captures her pain and suffering, but also her family’s frustration at not understanding how to help her. The beauty of this video is that it captures raw emotion that wouldn’t be the same through written words or audio clips. You can see this girl, you can see her family, you can see her surrounded by other ‘normal’ kids, and the contrast is striking. This video clearly tells a story and makes you want sympathize with her and her family.  Youtube is great for sharing a short story, particularly if the subject matter is emotional or stirring. It gives you the visual, but doesn’t take away the personal touch beyond that. The video above was 5:22, any longer and I would probably lose attention.

2) Pinterest

GLOBALHealthPR Childhood Obesity Infographic

Here’s why I love Pinterest, and beyond the fact that it helps me plan other things in my life in a fun, seemingly stress free way. You get a catchy information and you can just click on it to see more. It’s not an ugly URL, it’s a pretty (and sometimes not so pretty) picture that will whisk you away to another site and give you more of what you want to know. For public health, I found info graphics like the one above to be the most useful and intriguing. I didn’t realize these things had their own name for a long time, but I think they combine different modes of learning perfectly. They have the pictures and graphs to engage visual learners, quick facts and writing to engage the verbal learners, and then you can click around and explore on their connected website for those of us who are kinesthetic. Pinterest doesn’t have the audio like Youtube does, which I think helps clarify more complex issues, but a good image or info graphic can speak a hundred words…if not more.

Public Health Institute (PHI) has a ton of info graphics on a variety of topics. Here’s a link to the ones on healthy eating:

3) Flickr



Image from found on Flickr

I found this little gem on Flickr. I have heard of Flickr, but never really understood it. With a simple search though I found a variety of pictures on everything ranging from conference pictures, graphs or tables from reports, a photography student’s final art project, editorial photos, and pictures from news organizations. It’s amazing the different places this is pooled from. I may need to explore a bit more, but the organization of Flickr is not my favorite. I do think it could be a valuable tool for doing exactly what we are doing and what other public health organizations are aiming to do which is reach populations and people through social media tools. Flickr is easy to access with hundreds of pictures at your fingertips. Unlike Pinterest or Youtube, Flickr really just provides the image without the information behind it. But being able to access those images is really valuable.


2 thoughts on “Visualizing Obesity: Youtube, Pinterest, and Flickr

  1. Great post, I’m a pinterest lover too!! Im always fascinated by the infographics.
    You do bring up a great point: being bombarded by too many images can be overwhelming ( and headache provoking). I find it hard to keep straight where I saw what…

  2. I think this is a great way to show how the 3 tools can be used to educate people. I find that with the power of scrolling down on our devices, my attention span has become shorter and shorter. And I agree with Kirstie- Pinterest is actually a great resource of the infographics! I think it would work too if you share something off of Pinterest to Facebook to show ideas to your captive audience.

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