You could be doing something a few times a day that’s boosting your odds of becoming fat and broke! It’s logging onto Facebook! That’s the latest from Columbia University researchers.

500 volunteers completed a survey that asked things like, “How often do you go on Facebook?” And “What’s your credit score?” They also measured volunteers’ body mass index – or B-M-I. The result? People who spent the most time on Facebook were more likely to be overweight or obese, and were more prone to binge eating. They also had more credit card debt and lower credit scores than those who spent the least amount of time on Facebook.

So, why does Facebook cause you to pick up bad health and money habits? Lead researcher Dr. Keith Wilcox calls it the “Facebook effect.” And explains that browsing the site even for a couple of minutes is an instant self-esteem booster. You think, “Look at all of these friends I have, I’m popular!” And that feel-good high causes your self-control to crash, making you more likely to make bad impulse decisions. Like, “I feel so good, I should treat myself to a brownie or new shoes.” And then your waistline and bank account suffer!

And experts warn that the “Facebook effect” is becoming a bigger and bigger problem. Since we can browse on our smartphone while on-the-go, anytime we want, it essentially giving us a non-stop Facebook feel-good attitude! And a non-stop excuse to splurge.

So, next time you log on, try saying out loud “This can make me fat and broke!” and that should make you less likely to splurge on food or frivolous fun post-Facebook.

Lesson Expert

Meredith McKenna