JUL 26, 2019 11:54 AM PDT

When Does Smartphone Usage Increase Obesity Risk?

WRITTEN BY: Julia Travers

It’s well known that decreased physical activity and obesity are not good for the heart. As more people use smartphones more often, they are moving around less. The authors of a recent study wanted to know just how much time on a smartphone is likely to increase the risk for obesity and accompanying health risks like heart disease. They focused their research on college students at Simón Bolívar University in Barranquilla, Colombia, and presented their findings at the American College of Cardiology Latin America Conference 2019.



The central finding of this research was that participants who used their cell phones five or more hours a day were 43 percent more likely to be obese. A total of 1,060 people (700 women and 360 men) who were students of the university’s Health Sciences faculty were analyzed in this project between June and December 2018. Their average ages were 19 years for women and 20 for men. The women involved were 63.9 percent likely to be overweight and 57.4 percent likely to be obese. The men who participated were 36.1 percent likely to be overweight and 42.6 percent likely to be obese. Twenty-six percent of the people who were overweight and 4.6 percent of those who were obese spent more than five hours on their phones.


Researchers found students who used their phones for five or more hours a day were twice as likely to have lower levels of physical activity and to consume a larger number of fast-food products, sugary drinks, sweets and snacks.



"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,” Mirary Mantilla-Morrón, lead author and cardiac pulmonary and vascular rehabilitation specialist in the Health Sciences Faculty at Simón Bolívar, said.


For more on the risks of sedentary smartphone usage, check out the CNN video below.


Article source: EurekAlert

About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Julia Travers is a writer, artist and teacher. She frequently covers science, tech, conservation and the arts. She enjoys solutions journalism. Find more of her work at jtravers.journoportfolio.com.
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