Technological advances can have their down sides, as some experts have linked television, video games and now social networking with a decline in physical activity and to weight gain.
A new UK study finds that time spent on social networking sites comes at the expense of other activities.
University of Ulster researchers performed an online survey of 350 students to measure social networking activity and levels of physical activity.
The results showed that the vast majority of students use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and spend an average of one hour a day online.
In the physical activity questionnaire, just over half the students were classified as; “moderately active” and a third were “high activity,” with a minority (12.7 percent) falling into the “low physical activity” group. One-quarter of the respondents said they took part in team sports.
Analysis of the results confirmed that the amount of time spent on social network websites was negatively correlated with the respondents’ level of physical activity in the previous week.
Facebook fans were also less likely to take part in team sports, but this effect was less pronounced.
“Time is a finite resource, so time spent in social networking must come at the expense of other activities,” said researcher Wendy Cousins, Ph.D. “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.”
Source: University of Ulster