Using Social Networking To Fight Weight Problems : Parent and Teen Connection

Using Social Networking To Fight Weight Problems

December 7, 20120 Comments

It may seem counter intuitive, but if you’re dealing with weight issues at your house, it may actually help your child if you allow him or her to spend more time on the computer. A new study by the American Heart Association suggests that social networking can provide the ideal support group for your child in a situation where weight loss has become a must.

Social media may help fight childhood obesity

Social media may be an effective tool to help children overcome obesity External link, according to a new American Heart Association scientific statement.

The statement is published online in the association’s journal Circulation.
“Online communication and social media are an increasing part of our lives and our overall social network of family, friends and peers,” said Jennifer S. Li, M.D., M.H.S., chair of the writing group. “Healthcare providers should embrace its potential as a tool for promoting healthy behavioral change.”
The writing group evaluated research on Internet-based interventions to lose weight, increase physical activity and improve eating habits.
“The studies we looked at suggest that more parental involvement and more interaction with counselors and peers was associated with greater success rates for overweight children and teens who participated in an online intervention,” said Li, division chief of pediatric cardiology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.
Variables that influenced success were whether the rest of the family was involved in the intervention, the degree of back-and-forth communication and feedback with a counselor or support group, and the frequency with which kids and adolescents logged on and used the programs.
People who are overweight or obese tend to share a home or spend their leisure time with others who are overweight or obese, according to research.
“Athletes tend to hang out with athletes, and overweight kids hang out together so they reinforce each other’s eating habits or preferences for recreational activities,” Li said.
About 95 percent of 12- to 17-year-old children have Internet access at home and/or in school, so online social network health interventions should be explored as an effective way to prevent or manage excessive weight, Li said.
Read the full article at
While your child clearly doesn’t need to spend all of his or her time online, connecting with others in the same situation may be a powerful weight loss motivator, helping offer that much needed boost to a healthier life.

Using Social Networking to Fight Weight Problems


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