Credit: Anatoliy Samara | Dreamstime
Kids Boost Activity Level When Around Active Friends
Children withِ more-active friends tend toِ raise theirِ ownِ levels ofِ physical activity, according toِ a newِ study.
To conduct theِ study, researchers interviewed 81 children ages 5 toِ 12, whoِ wereِ enrolled inِ after-school programs, andِ asked aboutِ their friendships.
The kids alsoِ wore devices called accelerometers toِ monitor theirِ activity atِ three points inِ time overِ the courseِ of theِ 12-week study.
Gesell cautioned against being overly concerned with peer pressure and weight in this age group.
If yourِ kid hasِ only inactive friends, thatِ shouldِ beِ a red flag, sheِ said.
If heِ hasِ one inactive friend among manyِ friends, thatِ shouldn’tِ beِ a concern.
The fight against childhood obesity
According toِ a 2010 study inِ the Journal ofِ the American Medical Association, 19.6 percent ofِ children betweenِ ages 6 andِ 11 areِ considered obese.
Gesell saidِ the nextِ step inِ herِ group’s research willِ involve figuring outِ whether kids’ activity levels areِ more effectively raised byِ efforts toِ helpِ kids build friendships withِ more-active children, orِ efforts toِ encourage theِ peer leader inِ a givenِ group toِ becomeِ more active, inِ the hope thatِ friends willِ follow suit.
But, Gesell said, ifِ the kids aren’t happy, andِ don’t maintain theirِ friendships, theِ interventions willِ fail.
Simply putting inactive andِ active kids togetherِ won’t work, heِ said.
In order toِ helpِ children toِ find moreِ active friends, researchers needِ a betterِ sense ofِ what values children mightِ share thatِ couldِ help themِ form a bond.
In hisِ experience withِ hisِ own children asِ well asِ in studies, younger children tend toِ form andِ end friendships rapidly, heِ said.