A study posted on ScienceDaily.com suggests that social media may help children overcome obesity.

According to Jennifer S. Li, M.D., M.H.S., from the American Heart Association, people who are overweight tend to gravitate toward those who are in similar situations so that they can reinforce each other’s habits and lifestyles.

"Some research shows that even in virtual social networks, people tend to associate with others like themselves," she says. "So if you develop a network of kids who are overweight, you can have an impact on all of them--in the real world and online--because if one starts making healthy changes, the others will be influenced to do so as well."

Li suggests that parents and even therapists should be more present in the lives of overweight children who need intervention, and that includes being on the social media platform that they are on. She adds that the chances of the children overcoming obesity with this kind of support group are high. This will likely cause a domino effect, where healthier children convince those with excess weight to change their lifestyles.

But social media isn’t without its evils; without proper monitoring, obese children can develop sleep deprivation, which can trigger an increase in weight, and even become victims of cyber-bullying.

The key is for parents to always be involved in their children’s lives, especially if it concerns their health. There's no need to look over their shoulder all the time; simply knowing when to show support and when to slightly retreat can create a loving environment--online or offline--that will help them overcome their issues on weight.

(Photo by MoneyBlogNewz via Flickr Creative Commons)

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