A meokbang streamer consumes a variety of dishes. (123rf)
“Meokbang” (also known as “mukbang”), a compound word for “eating” and “broadcast” in Korean, is a popular form of content found on video platforms such as Youtube, AfreecaTV, Twitch, and Kakao TV. Meokbang streamers show themselves consuming large platefuls of junk food while simultaneously interacting with viewers.
Along with the rise of one-person households in the country, people have gotten in the habit of watching meokbang while eating alone, which allows them to feel as though they are eating with someone. Viewers also say that meokbang provides vicarious satisfaction as they watch the hosts binge on large amounts of food.
Yet, according to the Korea Food Communication Forum (KOFRUM), spending excessive amounts of time watching meokbang can lead to weight gains or obesity. A study from Chonnam National University supports this by showing a correlation between dietary behavior and meokbang viewing time.
A woman eats dinner while watching meokbang on her laptop. (123rf)
The study suggests that the weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) of viewers who watch meokbang for more than 14 hours a week are remarkably high. Eating habits and preference of food also have a correlation with watching meokbang. People who watch meokbang for more than 14 hours a week are prone to preferring carbohydrate-rich foods, while people watching meokbang for less than 7 hours per week have a higher tendency of eating vegetables and fruits. Moreover, people who invest huge amounts of time in watching meokbang are more likely to skip their breakfasts, consume delivery food, eat at night, and have low interest in health issues.
Some suggest solutions such as encouraging viewers to have healthy eating habits.
By Kang Sue-min (firstname.lastname@example.org