SEOUL: South Korean experts say children who use smartphones for three hours or more a day are more likely to gain weight and become obese.
The study used a comprehensive survey of adolescents (ages 10 to 18) in South Korea, involving more than 53,000 children from across South Korea.
The survey collected information on various habits and health of adolescents.
Analyzing the data, it was found that children who used smartphones for more than two hours a day were more likely to eat fast food instead of fruits and vegetables.
Not only that, but children who spent three hours or more a day on a smartphone were significantly more likely to be overweight than children who use the phone for less time each day.
“I’m not at all surprised by the results,” said Dr. Rekha Kumar, medical director of the American Board of Obesity Medicine. “Sitting in front of a smartphone screen prevents children from participating in sports and other physical activities (which helps prevent obesity),” explained Dr. Rekha.
The South Korean study also found that children who used smartphones for at least five hours a day were more likely to eat and drink sugary drinks, fried chips and instant noodles, including soft drinks.
However, the children who were using smartphones to get information also had healthy eating habits.
In contrast, children who spent hours chatting and texting on smartphones, playing games, watching videos, listening to music, or chatting on social media were more likely to eat upside-down food.
When using a smartphone, children often focus on the phone screen, so when they start eating, they inadvertently eat. And they eat more than usual, which affects their overall health and increases their risk of obesity.
South Korean experts say companies responsible for marketing unhealthy food and drink products for children are also to blame.
These advertisements are also well run on social media which makes the children want to eat these things and often they ask for these things from their parents.
This research reminds us that any invention is useful as long as it is used in moderation, with balance. Otherwise, it can seriously affect our physical and mental health.
Note: This research was presented at the American Society for Nutrition’s online conference “Nutrition Live Online 2021”. The conference lasted from June 7 to 10.