Facebook Leads to Obesity — Or Does It?

A recent study in the Journal of Consumer Behavior suggests the increased self-esteem one experiences after spending time reading the feed of one’s social network of close friends on Facebook can lead to a loss of self-control, which in turn can lead to poor food choices and obesity. But there are a few issues with the study.

First, it seems to unfairly conclude there is causal relationship between spending time on Facebook and increased BMI, rather than simply a correlation between the two things. Second, the study uses as its measure of self-control the choice a participant makes between a cookie and a granola bar, with the cookie representing a loss of self-control and the granola bar representing an exercise of self-control. This is a flawed measure because granola bars often have as many or more calories than a cookie. Finally, since 80% of the participants chose a cookie over a granola bar, the authors conclude social network surfing generates a loss of self-control, but that conclusion is only valid if that 80% figure is significantly different than the percentage who would chose the cookie over the bar among the general population.

Click  here to read about the study in SocialNewsDaily.com and  here to read full publication of the study itself.

Cat on Computer image © Evan Lovely / Wikimedia Commons