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Facebook could make you fat and poor: study

All that time spent stalking your friends on Facebook isn’t just creepy, it might also be making you fat and poor, according to a new study.

Researchers at Columbia University and the University of Pittsburgh analyzed the behaviour of Facebook users.

For starters, what they found was that people got a positive uptick in self esteem and well-being after getting updates and sharing content with friends on Facebook.

But, according to the results of the research - previewed by Forbes - there could be a negative effect after.

People took the positive feelings and then changed their perceptions of themselves - reportedly making it harder to say no things. Indulgences, for example.

“Because consumers care about the image they present to close friends, social network use enhances self-esteem in users who are focused on close friends while browsing their social network. This momentary increase in self-esteem leads them to display less self-control after browsing a social network,” writes Keith Wilcox from Columbia University and Andrew Stephen from University of Pittsburgh.

So after feeling good about your appearance and financial situation, you might be more tempted to reach for the bag of chips when you’re not really hungry. Or buy a new dress or wrist watch and build up the charges on your Visa.

Because people on Facebook have a better image of who you are and what you look like than the real thing, you feel better about yourself and indulge a bit.

What’s more is that the researchers found those who used Facebook more had a higher body-mass index, experienced increased binge eating, had a lower credit score and higher levels of credit card debt.

So, are you hitting the gym and spending less after hearing about this study?

- Maurice Cacho, MSN Tech & Gadgets



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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.