youth obesity rates
April 17, 2023

TikTok: Friend or Foe to Youth Obesity Rates?

It’s no secret, according to the Dewey Does Foundation and CDC, that youth obesity rates have been on the rise for the past few decades, and it probably won’t surprise you that social media has been suggested as a possible contributing factor. 

TikTok, an incredibly popular powerhouse of a video-sharing app, has been both praised and criticized for its impact on youth obesity rates. While some argue that it promotes sedentary behavior and unhealthy eating habits, others believe it can encourage physical activity and healthy eating. 

In this article, we will explore the relationship between TikTok and our overweight youth.

The all-important statistics

Firstly, it's important to understand the current state of youth obesity rates. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the percentage of children and adolescents affected by obesity in the United States has tripled since the 1970s. Today, one in five children and adolescents is considered obese. Obesity can lead to a variety of health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, and sleep apnea.

TikTok encourages our kids to be sedentary

One of the main criticisms of TikTok is that it promotes sedentary behavior. Users can spend hours scrolling through their feeds, watching videos, and creating content, which can lead to a lack of physical activity. 

This sedentary behavior is believed to be a contributing factor to youth obesity rates. A recent study published in the Frontiers of Pediatrics found that increased screen time was associated with higher body mass index (BMI) in adolescents.

On the flip side, it gets the young and old up and moving

TikTok has also been praised for encouraging physical activity. Many popular TikTok trends involve dancing or performing physical challenges, which can be a fun and engaging way to exercise. Some TikTok users have even created workout routines that incorporate TikTok dances. 

TikTok promotes unhealthy eating

Another criticism of TikTok is that it promotes unhealthy eating habits. Many TikTok videos feature unhealthy snacks and drinks, such as fast food, sugary drinks, and processed snacks. These types of foods are often high in calories, sugar, and fat, which can contribute to weight gain and obesity. 

A recent review found that exposure to unhealthy food and drink content on social media could be associated with increased consumption of unhealthy foods and drinks in adolescents.

On the flip side, it is being used to educate kids on nutrition and healthy habits

TikTok has also been used to promote healthy eating habits and to educate young people about nutrition. Some TikTok users create videos that feature healthy recipes and meal ideas. Others use the app to share their weight loss journeys and provide tips for healthy living. 

So what do we make of this?

The impact of TikTok on youth obesity rates is incredibly complex and multifaceted. While it has been criticized for promoting sedentary behavior and unhealthy eating habits, it has also been praised for encouraging physical activity and promoting healthy living. In other words, TikTok can be a new teammate of the Defenders of Doseville.

As with any social media platform, it's important for users to be aware of the potential impact on their health and to make informed decisions about their use of the app. By incorporating physical activity and healthy eating habits into their TikTok experience, young people may be able to use the app as a tool to combat youth obesity rates.


youth obesity rates

Youth obesity rates on the rise? Not on our watch

At Dewey Does, we are doing our part to combat the rising youth obesity rates. We are passionate about getting kids everywhere up and moving - whenever, however. With our exciting range of kids' sports novelty t-shirts that are designed for healthy, active lifestyles, we want to inspire the younger generation to Dew 110%, just like Dewey.

Team Does fighting childhood obesity since 2006

Hi, Team Does. I get all my sports news and updates from my friend Tommy Ommy, host of Straight from the Basement Sports Podcast. Be sure to follow him wherever you get your podcasts, and check out his YouTube channel for sports news and conversations - Dewey.

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