Have an Active Social Life to Lose Weight

Does having an active social life help you lose weight?

Scientists at Ohio State University Medical Center believe it to be true. The researchers assure that — Having an active social life can be a crucial component in your ability to lose weight.

How the research was conducted:

The research by Dr. Mattew During and Lei Cao, PhD, is conducted on mice. The scientists took two sets of identical mice. One set was housed in groups of five in standard pens (case), where the mice were comfortable but devoid of stimulating interaction. The second group of mice were kept, 25 at a time, in an “enriched environment” complete with wheels, mazes and endless opportunities for challenges and social interaction. The scientists changed the props weekly to help the mice stay “socially, physically and mentally engaged.”

To make sure that the difference was caused by social factors, researchers gave the mice in the first group, exercise wheels as well, which allowed them to get just as much if not more exercise than the mice in the enriched or second environment.

The finding:

The researchers saw a significant impact in the way the mice stored fat. Mice, like humans, possess deposits of both white and brown fat. White fat is stored, while brown fat is burnt into energy. Scientists found that the socially-engaged mice switched their white fat into energy-burning brown fat and became considerably thinner in a matter of weeks.

Verdict: The scientists found that the fat is extremely responsive to socially enriched environment and exercise is only part of it.

What is the advice?

The researchers say that, weight loss or remaining slim is not just about going to the gym and getting on the treadmill. To lose weight a person has to be much more engaged socially, as well as physically. Treating their research findings falling into the gamut of researches which suggest that social engagement, social interaction, social challenges — in addition to physical activity — is very critical; the researchers hope that their analysis would inspire people to improve their social lives as if their weight depends on it. The research findings will be published in the September issue of the journal “Cell Metabolism.”

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