Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 January 2020

Spending too much time on phone increases risk of obesity by 43 per cent, study finds

It can also lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, researchers said

Limiting your time online could help you to be more productive. The National
Limiting your time online could help you to be more productive. The National

We are probably all guilty of spending too much time on our smartphones. With improving technology, phones have become more than merelya way to communicate – they have become a source of information, entertainment and a permanent distraction.

But new research shows that spending more than five hours on your phone each day is not only bad for productivity, it can seriously affect your health, significantly increasing the risk of obesity.

Researchers at the Simon Bolivar University in Barranquilla, Colombia, studied a group of students consisting of 700 women and 360 men, with an average age of 19 and 20 respectively. The results of the study found that participants who spent more than five hours on their phones each day were 43 per cent more likely to be obese than those who used their phones less.

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Time spent on phones can also lead to eating more junk food.

Men had a 36.1 per cent chance of being overweight, and 42.6 per cent likelihood of being obese, researchers said, while women had a 63.9 per cent chance of being overweight, and 57.4 per cent chance of obesity.

The study also found that those who spent more time on their phones were twice as likely to snack on fast food and sugary drinks, and engage in less physical activity.

"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 behaviours," said Mirary Mantilla-Morron, a cardiac pulmonary and vascular rehabilitation specialist and the lead author of the study.

"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."

She said the study allowed them to determine that the amount of time spent on a phone can directly correlate with obesity, and increase the risk of developing illnesses such as cardiovascular disease.

Many smartphones now give users the option to track their screen time, sending weekly reports and breakdowns to let them know exactly how much time they are spending on their phones.

Updated: July 30, 2019 02:42 PM