Have you ever checked your screen time on your smartphone and thought that it was impossible that you’ve spent 6-8 hours on your phone in a day? That’s the thing about it. For you, it feels like you’ve just responded to a couple of messages on WhatsApp, scrolled through your Insta and Twitter feed and read a couple of articles online. But all these ‘quick’ moments add up.
A new study that was presented at the American College of Cardiology Latin America Conference found a link between the hours spent on a smartphone and obesity. The study concluded that individuals who spend more than 5 hours on their smartphones a day increased their risk of obesity by a whopping 43%.
For the study, the researchers examined 1 060 students (aged between 19 and 20 years old) from the Simón Bolívar University for six months. They found that students who spent five hours or more on their smartphones were more likely to drink sugary drinks, eat fast food, sweets, snacks and were less likely to be physically active.
“Spending too much time in front of the smartphone facilitates sedentary behaviours, 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,” Mirary Mantilla-Morron, the lead author of the study and a cardiac pulmonary and vascular rehabilitation specialist, said in a statement.
“It is important for the general population to know and be aware that, despite being undoubtedly attractive for its multiple purposes, portability, comfort, access to countless services, information and entertainment sources, mobile technology should also be used to improve habits and healthy behaviours.”
What the statistics say…
Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980. By 2014, 1,9 million adults were overweight and 600 million of them were obese. In fact, most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight. These stats highlight the importance of trying to lead a healthy and fit life, and, as the report suggests, give your phone a little less face time.
The findings of this study are important to consider, particularly for South Africans. By 2016, 28,3% of South African adults were obese, which was the highest rate for sub-Saharan countries.
“The results of this study allow us to highlight one of the main causes of physical obesity, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. We have also determined that the amount of time in which a person is exposed to the use of technology, specifically prolonged phone use, is associated with the development of obesity.”
So, how many hours do you spend on your smartphone per day?
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