Fighting Childhood Obesity with Social Media
Fighting childhood obesity with social media is becoming more effective, according to the American Health Association (AHA). In a recent statement published in the association’s journal Circulation, the group recommends more research to help health policy makers and doctors in preventing, intervening, and managing childhood obesity.
Social media and online communication is a central part of our lives. Most of us communicate with family, friends, and peers using these networks on a daily basis. Research obtained in a recent Internet-based intervention to increase physical activity, improve eating habits, and lose weight, provided some interesting results.
Children Using Social Media to Manage Weight
Researchers found greater success rates for overweight teens and children who participated in the intervention when they were actively involved and interacted with peers, parents, and counselors. The key influences were the frequency of how often the children logged into and used the programs, the amount of involvement in the intervention of the rest of the family, and the feedback from a support group or counselor.
Since 95 percent of children between the ages of 12 to 17 have access to the Internet at school or at home, social online interventions can be an effective way to offer support, educate people on how to prevent obesity, and offer suggestions and ways on how to manage weight, according to the study. A recent survey of teens indicates that 9 out of 10 teens use social media and half of them use it on a daily basis.
One of the main reasons using social networks is beneficial for children and teens to discuss their weight is that they can be anonymous. Overweight children tend to avoid attention to their weight; they don’t discuss it with family friends, at school, or at home. However, children who use the social network like Weigh2Rock appear to like their anonymity and are open for discussion in the groups and chat rooms. They also enjoy reading the stories and tips the site provides.Continued on the next page