Small Friends If this piece of information is to be believed then, best friends have an impact on children’s physical activity. According to a study undertaken by the University of Bristol, kids playing with their best friend within the neighborhood have higher levels of physical activity. It was pointed out that friendship groups may encourage boys and girls to be active, especially outside school.

Throughout the study, authors focused on highlighting the physical activity modelling and physical activity actions of best friends linked with the physical activity of 10- to 11-yr-old kids. Data from 986 children of whom 472 provided complete physical activity and best friend information was evaluated. Subjects had to identify their ‘best friend’ within the school and answer how often they took part in physical activity with the friend or if the friend had encouraged them to be active. Then, with the help of an accelerometer scientists examined the physical activity of all children and best friends.

Scientists also gathered the mean minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day (Mean MVPA) and mean accelerometer counts per minute (Mean CPM) of all children and best friends. Regression models were run separately for boys and girls for analyzing seeming relationships between child and best friend physical activity. Dr. Russ Jago, Reader in the Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, School for Policy Studies, and colleagues conclude that supporting physical activity among friendship groups and encouraging friends to be active together, particularly outside school aids in introducing vital changes to children’s physical activity.

Boys with best friends who are physically active supposedly engage in greater amounts of physical activity. On the other hand, girls who frequently take part in active play with their best friend gain higher levels of physical activity than girls who do so less recurrently. Among 10- to 11-yr-old children, those engaged in physical activity with their best friend often and outside of school hours apparently have higher levels of physical activity. In girls, mean MVPA was possibly associated with frequency of activity of the best friend and engaging in physical activity at home or in the neighborhood, with similar patterns for mean CPM. For boys, mean MVPA was allegedly related to their best friend’s mean MVPA and being active at home or in the local neighborhood.

The study is published online in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.