A small study suggests that kids may be putting on excess pounds because their friends sit around, Health24 reports. Researchers analysed 81 kids aged 5 to 12 in after-school programmes over a period of three months.
They had found that kids seemed to become more active if they hung out with active kids, and the reverse was true, too. The findings do not prove that friends directly affect how active kids are, and it's not clear whether there's enough of an impact to make a difference in obesity or activity levels throughout the day.
Study co-author Eric Tesdahl, a graduate student in Nashville, Tennessee's Vanderbilt University, said that the research raises questions about whether chubbier kids can be influenced by more active peers. "It was much more likely for a child to adjust their activity level to that of their friends than it was for them to not adjust or to go in the opposite direction." Perhaps less-active kids could be grouped with more-active ones, he said, noting that this is especially true since the research suggests kids don't simply flock to other kids who are like them - active or non-active - but instead are influenced by their peers, Health24 says.
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