There is a new type of sickness out there. Its symptoms include weight gain and anti-social behaviour. If care is not taken it can even lead to you losing your job. The new sickness is called Social Media Weight Gain. It has long been suspected that too much social media consumption can be bad for you and now there is proof that this could indeed be the case. Teenagers are warned!
Social Media and always being online can make you fat. A new study suggests that the more time we spend on Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites, the less active we are and the more susceptible to weight gain we become.
In the study, researchers from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland had 350 students complete an online survey. The students answered questions about their levels of social networking activity and physical activity.
Most students used social networking sites for an average of one hour each day, according to the study. Slightly more than half of the students rated themselves as "moderately active," one-third of the participants said they were "highly active" and 12.7% reported "low physical activity". Of the students involved in the study, 25% said they participated in team sports.
What the study found
What the study found
After examining the information collected, however, the researchers found that time the students spent on social networking sites cut into time they spent exercising or being physically active. The study also found people who were fans of Facebook were less likely to play team sports.
"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," study lead author Dr Wendy Cousins, a psychologist at the University of Ulster, said in a university news release.
"Our findings are intriguing," she added, "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."
The study was expected to be presented at the annual conference of the British Psychological Society's Division of Health Psychology in Liverpool. Research presented at medical meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
You don’t have to look too far if you want to make up your own mind as to the validity of these claims. South Africans are certainly not faultless on this front. Look around you when next you take part in some social activity such as a September 24th Heritage Day braai. A nice gathering of your friends and family will prove the point that people are over indulging in social media and here is the litmus test: See how long it takes at the braai until you spot someone on their mobile phone. You will be amazed at how attached your friends and family have become with smartphones and not just because they have fancy phones, it’s because of all the social media applications available on these devices.
This is a sickness with only one cure – abstinence. This is really not a sex-ed lesson but a life lesson. If you have stopped going to gym or for walks because you suffer from some insatiable need to consume media, the best thing to do would be to set aside time for some physical pursuits and to re-engage with society through active participation in physical exercise even if it means you take your dog for walks (instead of hiring someone to do that for you).
Put away your phone so that you are not tempted to stare at the screen every waking minute of your life. Remember, exercise is still the only feel good drug out there without any harmful side-effects. Perhaps if more people exercised the world would be a much happier place.
Have an absolutely amazing week and stay away from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn etc…
P.S. Happy Heritage Day for next Monday.