Friends appear to play a significant role in youngsters' levels of physical activity. In a new study, over one-hundred children and teens were asked to rank benefits and barriers to physical activity. The findings revealed that those who did physical activities with a friend were less likely to cite barriers to not exercising, while family participation or encouragement failed to have the same effect. Study author Dr. Jessica Graus Woo notes, "We speculate that the social network of friendships is increasingly important in influencing behaviors as children get older... Having physically active friends may make it easier for obese children to get involved with activities and lower the perceived barriers for doing so, while having a physically active family may not be as inspiring."
American Heart Association, March 2015