Teens' smartphones addiction can make them obese

Teens' smartphones addiction can make them obese Washington D.C. [USA], Dec. 16 : A recent study reveals teenagers spending more than five hours on digital devices like tablets, smartphones and television are 43 percent more likely to become obese compared with adolescents who do not spend time on these devices.

The study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, found that children who reported spending more time on screen devices and watching television engaged in behaviors that can lead to obesity.

"This study would suggest that limiting children's and adolescents' engagement with other screen devices may be as important for health as limiting television time," said study author Dr. Erica L. Kenney from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the US.

The team studied data from the 2013 and 2015 waves of the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, which included 24,800 adolescents in grades nine-12.

The survey gathered data on the following: hours spent on screen devices -- including smartphones, tablets, computers, and videogames -- and watching television, hours of sleep on an average school night, number of sugar-sweetened beverages consumed in the previous 7 days and frequency of physical activity (at least 60 minutes per day) for the past 7 days.

They found that almost 20 percent of adolescents spent more than five hours a day on smartphones, tablets, computers and videogames compared with only eight percent watching more than five hours a day of television.

However, the researchers also found that adolescents, who spent more than five hours a day on screen devices were twice as likely to drink a sugary drink each day and not get enough sleep or physical activity, and were about 43 percent more likely to have obesity compared with adolescents who did not spend time on these devices.

Although this study cannot conclude definitively that using screen devices is causing higher rates of obesity, the findings are cause for concern.

Until more research is done, clinicians may want to encourage families to set limits for both television and other screen devices. (ANI)