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Children who watch a lot of TV have higher risk of diabetes

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 | News

A recently released UK study, conducted between 2004 and 2007, has shown that children who spend too much time in front of screens, are actually at a higher risk of developing diabetes as they mature. The study found that children that had spent more than three hours a day watching TV, using a computer or spending time in front of a similar screen, had a higher amount of fat and insulin resistance. Two symptoms that could lead to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, later on in life.


Screen time was defined as any time spent watching TV or using games consoles and computers. Technology itself isn’t contributing directly to the effects, but it’s the sedentary lifestyle associated with excessive screen watching that is likely the cause of diabetes and weight gain. With the study being relatively old at this point, the data does not take into account the inclusion of mobile phones and tablets - devices that have increased the amount of screen time that children are exposed to.


The most recent US guidelines recommend no screen time for children under 18 months, one hour for children aged 2-5, and then older children should be assessed on a case by case basis by their parents. It is recommended that children exercise a minimum of one hour per day, on top of a balanced and healthy diet. This is worrying as another recent study found that children exercise less and less as they grow into adolescence, which could be pointing towards a future where diabetes is far more common.


The full study, called “Screen time is associated with adiposity and insulin resistance in children” can be found here.

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