Do Facebook and Twitter Make People Fat?

Tue 18 September 2012 10:00, Vitto Christaldi

Do Facebook and Twitter Make People Fat?

Time spent on social networking sites comes at the expense of other activities, especially physical activities, as revealed in the new study conducted by the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland.

The findings were based on the survey of 350 students. The majority of the respondents spent an average of one hour a day on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. In the physical activity questionnaire, half of the students were classified as ‘moderately active’, while a third were ‘high activity’ and only 12,7 percent were ‘low physical activity’.  A quarter of the respondents said they take part in teamsports.

The result shows that the amount of time spent on social network sites is negatively correlated with the level of physical activities. In other words, the more time people spend on social networks, the less people move. Respondents who spent a lot of time on Facebook were also less likely to take part in teamsports. 

However, the researcher can’t give a definite response on if social media actually causes people gain weight. “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 physical activity. We will need to carry out more research to see if it really is a case of Facebook makes you fat rather than Twitter makes you fitter”, said Dr Wendy Cousins, a psychologist from University of Ulster.

The findings were presented in the beginning of September at the annual conference of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Health Psychology in Liverpool.



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