Obesity: Not Just Unhealthy Diet, Excessive Screen Time Also Leads To Weight Gain In Kids

A new study has found a link between amounts of screen time and obesity in kids.

Sakshita Khosla (with inputs from ANI)  |  Updated: August 10, 2019 13:41 IST

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Obesity: Not Just Unhealthy Diet, Excessive Screen Time Also Leads To Weight Gain In Kids

Excessive screen time is linked with abdominal obesity, says new study

Health experts have warned against adverse impacts of increased screen time for kids and teens for years now. This is perhaps why now there are multiple mobile applications to map daily screen times of people. Parents are often advised to keep the screen times of their kids under check for various health reasons. Now a new study has found a link between amounts of screen time and obesity in kids. The study has indicated that kids who spend a lot of time in front of television and phone screens are at an increased risk of being obese. The study said that increased screen time is linked with higher weight and abdominal obesity, regardless of how much they exercise.

The study report titled, "Heavy screen users are the heaviest among 10,000 children" was published in the journal Scientific Reports. The study was conducted among Finnish children and for the study, researchers used the data from the Finnish Health in Teens. The study included data about 10,000 kids between the ages of nine and 12 years. The children were measured for height, weight and circumference. They also measured screen times of kids or the time spent viewing televisions and films, as well as sedentary use of computers outside of school time.

They found that heavy screen time was associated with both overweight and abdominal obesity, regardless of age, gender, sleep duration and exercise during the kids' free time. "It must be noted that this cross-sectional study does not reveal anything about causality. It may be that overweight children spend more time in front of screens, or that abundant screen time may result in overweight," said researcher Elina Engberg from the University of Helsinki and Folkhalsan. "Neither did the study measure the intensity of exercise. The participants were only asked about the amount of time they spent exercising in their free time. Further research on the combined effect of screen time, physical activity and diet on children's weight is needed," Engberg added.

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