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Never again shall you shudder in fear when you hear the term “peer pressure”. In fact, you should rejoice at the very sight of peers coming together for a single cause, e.g. weight reduction for good health. How is that possible, you ask? Lo and behold! There is something called positive peer pressure and it is very beneficial for kids if utilized properly. Recent studies have shown that obesity among children can be countered through positive peer pressure which leads many children towards adopting an active lifestyle. Peer groups can encourage other members to indulge in clean activities by discarding all the bad influences from their lives.
The latest research conducted by Canadian researchers from the University of Manitoba, shows that when older kids teach younger children about importance of diet and exercise, the latter seems to lose weight and become health conscious. This clearly shows how much peers listen to each other and also helps in identifying the causes of childhood obesity.
The researchers said that the initiative proved successful when obese kids lost an average of half an inch around their waist by improving their knowledge about the benefits of diet and exercise. In the process, the self-esteem of these children was also recorded to have risen considerably. This might be one of the best examples of friends with benefits witnessed among peer groups.
This research was part of the program called Healthy Buddies that provides lessons on physical activity, healthy eating, self-esteem and body image. The instruction is given by 9 to 12-year-olds to 6 to 8-year-olds.
A total of 19 schools were randomly selected to use Healthy Buddies curriculum on their regular instruction during the 2009-10 school year. During the first year of the program, the researchers noted changes in waist size and body-mass index (BMI), along with physical activity, heart fitness, self-image and knowledge about healthy living.
The children in the Health Buddies project showed positive results while the regular curriculum class did not show much improvement in their body image.