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FACT-CHECK: Did WHO share viral message on ‘7 biggest brain-damaging habits’?


1min read

A  MESSAGE with the headline “7 biggest brain-damaging habits”, attributed to the World Health Organisation (WHO), has been trending on social media.

This message has gone viral on WhatsApp and other social media like Pinterest.

A variation of the message on other social platforms was however not attributed to WHO.

FACT-CHECK: Viral video on rice distribution shared by Dino Melaye was shot in 2019


That  the WHO shared nuggets on “7 biggest brain damaging habits”. The habits listed include; “missing breakfast”, “sleeping late”, “high sugar consumption”, “more sleeping specially at morning”, “eating meal while watching TV or computer”, “wearing cap/scarf or socks while sleeping” and “habit of blocking/stopping urine.”

The Viral Claim

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A preliminary check showed that the claim is filled with typographical and grammatical errors.

It reads, (sic) “Don’t Just ReadForward to whom you careAs I care for U” with the word ‘you’ represented as an abbreviation “u” and spaces between some words omitted.

Therefore, it is unlikely that the WHO would issue a public information message in this pattern.

The claim was subjected to internet search and further findings revealed that a similar claim appeared on the internet in 2017.

It had similar content except for the quoted caption and graphics. While the claim under verification was attributed to the WHO, the latter was referenced to another organisation.

As part of the verification process, the WHO Nigeria office also debunked the claim that the message originated from its office.

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Charity Warigon, Head of Communications, WHO Nigeria, told The ICIR  via a phone call that, “Certainly, it doesn’t sound WHO at all.”

She asked for the viral claim to be forwarded to her through the WhatsApp platform. This was done, and in her response, she labelled it as fake.

“This is FAKE,” Warigon stated.


Based on the above findings,  WHO did not send out the circulated message. Therefore, the attribution to WHO is FALSE.

Olugbenga is an Investigative Reporter with The ICIR. Email address: [email protected] Twitter handle: @OluAdanikin

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