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Social networking sites can help fight obesity

A new study has suggested that social networking programmes that are designed to help people lose weight might help fight against obesity globally.

social media Updated: Sep 09, 2014 12:07 IST

A new study has suggested that social networking programmes that are designed to help people lose weight might help fight against obesity globally.

The research conducted at Imperial College London collected the data from 12 studies spread across the US, Europe, east Asia and Australia which trialed social networking services for weight loss, involving 1,884 participants in total.

The amalgamated results showed that people who used these services achieved a collective decrease in body mass index by a value of 0.64, which the authors describe as modest but significant.

Health policy researcher and surgeon Dr Hutan Ashrafian, the lead author of the study at the Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, said that one advantage of using social media over other methods was that it offered the potential to be much more cost effective and practical for day-to-day use when compared to traditional approaches.

Ashrafian added that the feeling of being part of a community allowed patients to draw on the support of their peers as well as clinicians and one could get advice from their doctor without the inconvenience or cost of having to travel and clinicians could provide advice to many patients simultaneously.

The study is published in the journal Health Affairs.