Using a smartphone for at least five hours a day has been linked to an increased risk of obesity in a study.
Scientists found that people who use their phones at such levels had a 43 percent higher risk of becoming obese from the baseline. That’s because they were twice as likely to eat food of low nutritional quality, such as fast food, sugary snacks and drinks, as well as not exercise.
The study involved 1,060 students (700 women and 360 men) of the Health Sciences Faculty at the Simón Bolívar University in Barranquilla, Colombia, between June to December 2018. The team collected information including the participants’ BMI, as well as how many hours they spent on their smartphone per day, and their diet.
A link was identified between the number of hours spent on a smartphone and a higher BMI.
The research was presented at the American College of Cardiology Latin America Conference, so has therefore not been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
According to the authors, there are some 7.9 billion smartphones on the planet: more than people. The potential link between technology and obesity is ripe for exploration, as more than 1.9 billion adults worldwide were overweight in 2016, with 650 million obese, according to the World Health Organization. In the U.S. alone, 9.3 million Americans between 2015 to 2016 were obese: amounting to around 39.8 percent of the adult population.
Lead author of the study Mirary Mantilla-Morrón, a cardiac pulmonary and vascular rehabilitation specialist at the Health Sciences Faculty at the Simón Bolívar University in Barranquilla, Colombia, commented in a statement: “It is important that the general population know and be aware that, although mobile technology is undoubtedly attractive for its multiple purposes, portability, comfort, access to countless services, information and entertainment sources, it should also be used to improve habits and healthy behaviors.
“Spending too much time in front of the smartphone facilitates sedentary behaviors, reduces the time of physical activity, which increases the risk of premature death, diabetes, heart disease, different types of cancer, osteoarticular discomfort and musculoskeletal symptoms,” she said.
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