A study at the St George’s University of London has found out that three hours of screen exposure daily increases the risk of Type-II diabetes among children. The study was published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood. The researchers have found that the children who are allowed more than three hours of screen time a day show warning signs of Type-II diabetes.
Children today are growing up in a world of advanced technology. Digital gadgets or devices are very common to them. Parents are suggested to strictly check the screen time of their children because it is a matter of serious concern. Increased use of gadgets or devices exposes them to screens for a longer time. This not only impairs their educational and social development but it also hampers their health.
American children spend an estimated 5 to 7 hours of their day before a screen. This includes watching TV, texting friends, and playing video games. Previous research says that too much screen time raises the risk of obesity, sleeping difficulties, attention problems, anxiety, and depression among these children. Moreover, they are bombarded with thousands of TV commercials and other screen ads, leading them to unhealthy food choices like high-sugar, high-salt, fat-rich foods.
What does the study say?
The study includes a comparison between screen-addicted peers and children who spend less than an hour, before a screen, in a day. It had the following results.
The children with lesser screen exposure had,
- 3 percent less body fat
- 5 percent less chance of developing insulin resistance
- 3 percent higher levels of Leptin
Note that Leptin is a hormone that curbs the appetite.
The researchers analyzed data from the Child Heart and Health Study in England, for the survey. It included nearly 4,500 students from 200 primary schools across London, Birmingham, and Leicester. All of them were nine to ten years old.
The children were interrogated about their daily screen time. Moreover, they were evaluated for a series of metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors like body fat, blood pressure, and insulin resistance.
It was revealed that 18 percent of the U.K. children spent more than three hours before a digital screen during a day. The survey reported a strong link between screen time and total body fat. These children were said to have increased risk of weight gain, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes.
What do the authors say?
The authors of the study say that lowering screen time may significantly reduce the risk factors for Type-II diabetes.
Dan Howarth is the Head of Care at Diabetes U.K. He said that childhood diabetes is increasing at a worrying rate. It should be a concern of every American parent. He encourages people for physical activities and giving up on a sedentary lifestyle.
As per his view, the findings of the study are very alarming. Parents and governments should wake up and start addressing the childhood obesity issues. For this purpose, children must be put to some physically active lifestyle with as little screen time as possible. Moreover, they must be provided with a healthy, organic, whole food diet.
The co-author of the study Claire Nightingale is a medical statistician at the St. George University of London. She along with her colleagues noted that it isn’t actually the increased screen time itself that results in raised diabetes risk factors. However, the behavior coming with it gives rise to the disease.
According to her screen time pictures your behaviors. How much sedentary time you have? Moreover, how much do you break that up? What are your dietary habits? All these things lead to the increased or decreased risk of the disease.