Study finds link between social life, childhood obesity

(Al Ibrahim/Flickr Commons)

AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) — A new study by the University of Texas School of Public Health finds that television is not to blame for childhood obesity, but rather the social life your child has.

The study found that kids who spent more time playing with friends were less likely to become obese; even if they watch a good amount of screen time. This is because they are more likely to be outside running around when they aren’t in front of the television.

However, children who are already obese may require more limitations on screen time because research finds they often have fewer friends.

“A parent with a child who is obese or overweight may need to work a little harder at that like setting up play dates,” said Dr. Elizabeth A. Vandewater, Associate Professor of Health Promotion and Behavior.  “Because traditionally overweight and obese kids have a relatively less rich social life compared to kids who are normal weight,”

The study also showed on average children between the ages of 5 and 18 watch TV for about three hours a week.

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