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Long times in front of televisions, computers and smartphones can lead to diabetes
Most parents should know the problem. The most popular pastime for children is mostly television. Researchers have now found that excessive use of screen devices such as televisions, smartphones and laptops can lead to negative health effects. Children's brains and eyes are damaged by constant exposure to such devices. Children also have an increased risk of developing diabetes if they spend more than three hours a day in front of a screen.
In their research, scientists from the University of London and the University of Glasgow found that spending too much time in front of the screen can increase the risk of diabetes in children. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Archives of Disease in Childhood".
Diabetes is not an age-related illness
Diabetes is often considered an age-related illness. But young people and children can also develop diabetes. The reason for this lies in their daily lifestyle. The numbers of people with diabetes are increasing these days, the authors say.
What are the effects of diabetes?
Diabetes affects the body's ability to produce insulin. This effect causes abnormal blood glucose levels. So far, unhealthy eating habits, lack of physical activity, and genetic predisposition have been among the main causes of type 2 diabetes in children, the scientists explain. However, the results of the current study show that another aspect of the sedentary lifestyle also contributes to the increased risk of diabetes in children.
A long time in front of the screen can increase body fat
If children stare at the screen of their smartphone, television or computer for more than three hours a day, this increases the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, according to the scientists. The longer time in front of the devices can lead to increased body fat and insulin resistance in children, the doctors add.
Experts examine more than 4,500 subjects
The researchers from Great Britain examined the data of more than 4,500 children for their study. The doctors realized that more than two hours a day in front of the screens of technical devices led to biological markers that increased the risk of type 2 diabetes.
How much time did participants spend in front of the screen?
Examining daily screen time, including TVs, computers, and game consoles, revealed that only 4 percent of the subjects did not spend any time in front of these devices. 37 percent were in front of the screens for an hour or less. 28 percent spent between one and two hours in front of the television or smartphone, the researchers say. 13 percent said they stared at the devices for about 2 to 3 hours. 18 percent of children watched screens for more than three hours each day, the scientists add.
Boys spend more time in front of the screen
Boys generally spent more time using television, smartphones, and computers. About 22 percent of the surveyed participants used such devices for more than 3 hours a day. In comparison, the value for girls was only 14 percent, say the experts.
Early onset of type 2 diabetes needs to be better understood
Even though potentially influential factors such as family background, household income, physical activity and puberty stage were taken into account, the connection between diabetes risk factors and screen time remained, the researchers explain. In the case of type 2 diabetes, which has been increasing in recent years, it is particularly important that the early onset be better understood. The results show that the recent trend of screen-related activities in childhood is increasing, experts say. This could affect behavior later in life. There have been previous studies that found an increased risk of weight gain and developing type 2 diabetes in adults when a lot of time is spent in front of the screen, the authors add. (as)