Does Five or More Hours of Smartphone Usage Per Day Increase Obesity?

As smartphones continue to be an inherent part of life and grow as a primary source of entertainment –particularly among young people – they also lead to a decrease in physical activity. A poster abstract, presented July 24 at ACC's 2019 Latin America Conference, found that university students that used their smartphones five or more hours a day had a 43 percent increased risk of obesity.

Researchers analyzed 1,060 students of the Health Sciences Faculty at the Simón Bolívar University from June to December 2018. The study group consisted of 700 women and 360 men, with average ages 19 and 20 years old, respectively. Participating men were 36.1 percent likely to be overweight and 42.6 percent likely to be obese. Women, on the other hand, were 63.9 percent likely to be overweight and 57.4 percent likely to be obese.

Results showed that 26 percent of the subjects who were overweight and 4.6 percent who were obese spent more than five hours using their device. Furthermore, those that spent more than five hours a day were more likely to have other lifestyle habits that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, such as eating fast food, drinking sugary drinks, and having decreased physical activity.

"The results of this study allow us to highlight one of the main causes of physical obesity, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease," said Mantilla-Morrón, a cardiac pulmonary and vascular rehabilitation specialist at the Health Sciences Faculty at the Simón Bolívar University in Barranquilla, Colombia, and lead author of the study. "We have also determined that the amount of time in which a person is exposed to the use of technologies – specifically prolonged cell phone use – is associated with the development of obesity."

Clinical Topics: Diabetes and Cardiometabolic Disease, Prevention, Exercise

Keywords: Risk Factors, Fast Foods, Latin America, Colombia, Overweight, Obesity, Exercise, Students, Cardiovascular Diseases

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