By Deborah Williams
It’s common knowledge that teenagers are often more influenced by their peers than the adults in their lives, but it seems that their friends’ activity levels influence younger children’s physical activity. Georgiann Caruso’s post on CNN Health blog reports that research by Sabina Gesell, assistant professor of Pediatrics at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, shows that “their social network of friends can greatly influence how much they move.”
According to Gesell, the friends of younger children can cause them to move less or to move more. The study results indicate that, “When given the choice to keep their activity levels the same or change them to match those of their peers, children were six times more likely to choose the latter.” She views the use of social networks can help in the fight against childhood obesity. Since many children are enrolled in after-school programs, Gesell suggests that those program administrators should rearrange the playgroups so that members of more sedentary groups are grouped with more active children.