Does Facebook make you fat?

Time spent on social networking sites comes at the expense of other activities – including physical activity, new research by the University of Ulster has revealed. 

 That is one of the findings of a study presented at the annual conference of the British Psychological Society's Division of in Liverpool at the weekend.

Around 350 students at the University of Ulster completed an –measuring social networking activity and levels of physical activity.

The research was carried out by Masters degree student Emer O'Leary, under the supervision of psychologists, Dr Wendy Cousins and Dr Tadhg Macintyre at the University of Ulster.

The results showed that the vast majority of students used like Facebook and Twitter spend an average of one hour a day online. In the physical activity questionnaire, just over half the students were classified as; 'moderately active' and a third were 'high activity', with a minority (12.7 per cent) falling into the 'low physical activity' group. A quarter of the respondents said they took part in team sports.

When the results were analysed, researchers found that the amount of time spent on social network websites was negatively correlated with the respondents' level of physical activity in the previous week. Facebook fans were also less likely to take part in , but this effect was less pronounced.

Dr Cousins said: "Time is a finite resource, so time spent in social networking must come at the expense of other activities. Our study suggests that physical activity may be one of those activities.

"Our findings are intriguing, but we have not conclusively demonstrated that social networking causes lower levels of . We will need to carry out more research to see if it really is a case of makes you fat rather than Twitter makes you fitter."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Social networking top online activity in US

Sep 13, 2011

US Internet users are spending nearly a quarter of their online time at blogs and social networks, with Facebook the most popular destination, according to a survey released Monday by Nielsen.

Recommended for you

Abdominal obesity ups risk of hip fracture

Feb 27, 2015

(HealthDay)—Abdominal obesity is associated with increased risk of hip fracture, according to a study published in the March issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Does traffic noise increase the risk of obesity?

Feb 27, 2015

There is an association between road traffic noise and the risk of obesity among people who are particularly sensitive to noise, according to a study from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Impact of a supermarket on children's diets

Feb 26, 2015

Locating full-service supermarkets within neighborhoods considered to be "food deserts" may not result in healthful dietary habits or reductions in childhood obesity—at least in the short term, according to a new study ...

Seeking solutions for the impact of obesity stigma

Feb 26, 2015

Arizona State University medical anthropologist and President's Professor Alexandra Brewis Slade says that even as more and more Americans find themselves carrying extra weight, the stigma attached to being ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.