Physical activity and social network use of adolescents in overweight and obesity treatment

Hagen Wulff*, Yanping Duan, Petra Wagner

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Tackling obesity among adolescents requires the optimization of existing obesity treatment strategies. For this purpose, social and personal circumstances, individual needs and behavior of therapy participants need to be analyzed to tailor aims, content and methods of therapy interventions to the target groups. A total of 432 obesity therapy participants between 11 and 17 years completed a written survey in a national multi-center study conducted in 2015. The data collection on behavior, in terms of physical activity, media use and sociodemographic variables, was based on questionnaires from the KiGGS, HBSC and JIM studies. The results show that participants were found to be physically active together with friends (75.5%), alone (41.4%) and in sports clubs (34.9%). Girls (OR 1.55) were less likely to participate in sports clubs. Social networks, especially YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook, were widely used. However, differences emerged among sociodemographic groups (e.g., boys vs. girls) regarding the use of social network features. A third of participants reported that smartphone apps regularly encouraged them to exercise. The findings imply that obesity therapy approaches need to be adapted and more differentiated according to the specific needs of the target groups.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number6938
    JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
    Issue number13
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Pollution
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
    • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Children and adolescents
    • Obesity and overweight
    • Physical activity
    • Social media
    • Social networks
    • Sociodemographic factors


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