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Study: Facebook Could Cause Obesity

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File photo of a person eating popcorn. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

File photo of a person eating popcorn. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – Researchers at Columbia University have learned that using Facebook may be tied to obesity, due to the negative eating habits that could result from frequent visitation of social networking sites.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, obesity is a problem for approximately 35 percent of all American adults – a number that is reportedly rising with each passing year.

The study, led by Keith Wilcox, Ph.D., surveyed almost 500 people about their Internet use, specifically as it pertained to Facebook, Men’s Health is reporting.

Of the 470 participants asked, those who used Facebook the most had reportedly higher body mass indexes than those who were not as frequently engaged.

Researchers additionally learned that binge eating was commonly associated with high involvement with the social networking site.

Through a tangentially related experiment, Wilcox and his team found that Facebook use increased self-esteem of those who used it. In this portion of the study, 84 randomly selected people were given the option of either looking at Facebook or browsing CNN’s website, Men’s Health learned.

When presented with both a healthy and unhealthy snack option after using Facebook, an alleged 80 percent of those who scrolled through their news feeds chose the less healthy option. Of those who read through CNN, 70 percent chose the healthy snack.

“People use momentary increases in self-esteem as a license to indulge,” Wilcox was quoted as saying. “The key here is that [the study participant] did not actually do anything to merit a treat.”

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