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Keeping a busy social life amongst lots of friends may keep people slimmer than spending several hours on a treadmill, according to scientists。
Scientists believe social activities can release a brain chemical that converts white fat into brown fat. Brown fat burns calories to generate heat, while white fat stores calories and makes us fatter。
Converting white fat into brown fat is very difficult, normally requiring long-term exposure to cold conditions or activating part of the body's nervous system. However, scientists from Ohio State University think that having a busy social life is an even more effective way of carrying out this conversion。
Tests on mice showed that those lived in large communities and had more space and toys lost half of their abdominal weight in four weeks, even if they ate more than those in boring, lonely environments. Researchers said that social stimulation aids weight loss。
However, social activities make some people worried. Study author Dr Matthew During of Ohio State University said, "I'm still amazed at the degree of fat loss that occurs... We often think of stress as a negative thing, but some kinds of stress can be good for your health."
Explaining how new technology had threatened face-to-face socializing, he added, "It's not just a sedentary lifestyle and high calorie foods, but an increasing lack of social engagement."
Co-author Dr Cao Lei said, "Loneliness is a profound factor for cancer and death; it's on par with cigarette smoking. Social engagement is very important."