Saturday, December 22, 2012

Social media may help fight childhood obesity

According to a new American Heart Association scientific statement, published online in the association’s journal Circulation, social media may be an effective tool to help children overcome obesity

The writing group evaluated online communication and social media are an increasing part of our lives and our overall social network of family, friends and peers. Healthcare providers should embrace its potential as a tool for promoting healthy behavioral change.
 
Some research shows that even in virtual social networks, people tend to associate with others like themselves. 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.

However, the downsides to social media include exposure to cyber bullying, privacy issues, sexting and Internet addiction that can cause sleep deprivation.
 
The authors recommend clinicians, policy makers and researchers ensure privacy protection, monitor outcomes and harness the strength of a health promotion social network to devise interventions that initiate and sustain behavior changes such self-monitoring, goal-setting and problem-solving.

More research is needed to provide data on overweight and obese adolescents to determine whether differences in gender, ethnicity, geographic location and socioeconomic status affect the efficacy and level of engagement with social media and technologically-based weight management interventions. It's also important that doctors need to understand digital technology better so that they can offer guidance to patients and their families on avoiding such issues, and will be aware of any such problems that occur

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Social media may help fight childhood obesity

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