Friendship makes young girls more physically active

London: Young girls who have greater number of friends are more physically active than those with few, according to a new research.

For each additional friend a child has, she spends an extra ten minutes being physically active at the weekend, the research funded by World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the National Prevention Research Initiative (NPRI) found.

The study that looked into the health of boys and girls in the years between primary and secondary school showed an extra friend was also associated with almost four extra minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity after school.

The researchers studied data from pupils aged ten to 11 from primary schools in Bristol.

But the link between friend numbers and exercise was only noticed in girls, suggesting stronger friendship associations for girls than boys, scientists said.

“The research shows that children are receptive to being encouraged to undertake more physical activity. We want to encourage young people to be active with their friends and support each other,” the Scotsman quoted Dr Russell Jago, of the University of Bristol’s Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, as saying.

“This information can be used to design strategies to improve activity among children at a crucial stage in their development.

“The higher levels of physical activity associated with girls having more friends and having friends who support physical activity suggests promoting activity with friends could be helpful,” he sated.

The findings were published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.