Kids Who Feel Left Out Are Less Active

By Medically reviewed by Dr. Duyen Le

A recent study shows that children who feel left out or are used to be ostracized by friends are less active than other kids. They will choose non-active pastime rather than physical activities. Also, this study shows that the lack of physical activities and engagement in sedentary behavior are prospectively related to obesity and other health conditions.

Negative feelings about being left out

Left out, also known as ostracism, is the negative feeling when a kid is forgotten in a friend group. It can be seen as a kind of bully. This could be because this kid is different from other kids. There are many reasons to make a kid being left out.

According to some studies of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is a link between ostracism or bullying and a decline in physical activities. When kids are overweight, ostracism could reduce their level of physical activity. As they get ostracized, they get heavier, and then they get more ostracized because they got heavier and things get worse and worse.

Moreover, in another study, a kid was required to play a virtual ball-toss computer game. Each kid would play with other children over the Internet. After this experience, the children were taken to a gymnasium and wore an accelerometer to measure their activity levels. At the gym, they could choose from physical activities such as kicking a soccer, jumping rope, or shooting a basketball. There were also drawing, word finds or reading magazines in sedentary activities. The result showed that after being ostracized in the computer game, the children accumulated nearly 22% fewer counts on the accelerometer and spent 41% more minutes on sedentary activities. This is clear evidence proving that experiencing ostracism has an immediate negative effect on the kid’s choice to be physically active.

The consequence of being left out

Instead of playing physical activities such as football, jumping rope or basketball, a left-out kid usually chooses non-active pastime. They are more likely to draw, read books, play crossword puzzles, watch a cartoon, or play a computer game.

However, playing non-active activities could lead a kid to become obese or get other health conditions. For a long time, the fear of being left out can give a kid emotional problems. They can grow up with a lack of confidence, suspicion about themselves or difficulty making new friends.

Help a kid to deal with ostracism

It is important for parents to help their kid to deal with ostracism. Parents should try to encourage the kid to find things that they enjoy doing. This does not always mean they have to be in a group. Parents could suggest some moving and physically activities that they can do with their families, their best friend or even by themselves. Moreover, parents should spend time talking or playing with the kid to let them know that they are not alone.


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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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