Children with more friends at school are said to be more physically active, according to a new study.
For each additional friend a child has, they spend an extra 10 minutes being physically active at the weekend, research funded by World Cancer Research Fund and The National Prevention Research Initiative found.
They say the discovery is good news for childhood health as the majoirty of young people do not meet physical activity guidelines and activity levels tend to decline through childhood.
The researcher from the University of Bristol, who are studying children's physical activity in the transitional years between primary and secondary school, also found an extra friend was associated with almost four minutes of moderate to vigotous physical activity after school.
However, the link was only noticed in girls, not boys, suggesting stronger friendship associations for girls than boys.
Dr Russel Jago, of the University of Bristol's Centre for Exercise Nutrition and Health Sciences, said: "The research shows that children are receptive to being encouraged to undertake more physical activity. We want to encourage young people to be active with their friends and support each other.
"This information can be used to design strategies to improve activity levels among children at a crucial stage in their development.
"The higher the levels of physical activity associated with girls having more friends and having friends who support physical activity suggests promoting activity with friends could be helpful."
The findings, published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise by the American College of Sports Medicine, concluded: "Strategies to foster friend support for physical activity may be important for helping girls be active."