Extensive Use of Smartphones & Tablets Indicates Weight Gain in Teens

Extensive Use of Smartphones Indicates Teen Weight GainSmartphones, tablets and computers have become a ubiquitous part of American culture. Unfortunately, they may be having a negative impact on the health of young people, who appear to be exchanging bad TV habits for time on these devices.
Troubling Study
According to new research out of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, screen devices are promoting obesity in teenagers. Relying on data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the study included close to 25,000 teens in grades 9 through 12. After parsing the data, researchers found that participants were twice as likely to consume sugary beverages and engage in sedentary lifestyles when they used smartphones, tablets or computers for five or more hours every day. In turn, these teens were 43-percent more likely to become obese, when compared to teenagers who did not use tablets or smartphones.
An Evolving Issue?
For years, health experts have warned against the negative health effects associated with excess TV viewing. Past research has shown that teenagers who watched five or more hours of television are almost three times as likely to consume sugary beverages and just under 80 percent more likely to suffer from obesity. Now, it seems many of these young people may be transferring these bad habits to their smartphones, tablets or computers.
Other Consequences
In addition to promoting overeating and sedentary lifestyles, screen devices may also promote obesity indirectly by compromising sleep. According to the Harvard study, when teens spent excessive time on smartphones, tablets or computers, they were at a 74-percent increased risk of poor sleep. Past research has linked inadequate sleep to obesity, along with learning difficulties and a number of other troubling health problems.
What You Can Do
It may come as no surprise to learn that television and screen devices promote inactivity; however, many families underestimate the unhealthy toll they can take on developing minds and bodies. If your children spend too much time on their smartphones, tablets or computers, take steps to reduce this activity and encourage them to become more physically active.

Health News + Events

What to Expect With COVID-19 & Back-to-School Protocols

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in early 2020, it turned life upside down for more than 50 million school-age children across the country. In fact, according to Ed  Read More

TikTok Health Hacks: Safe or Sham?

No matter your preferred social media channel, you’ve likely seen viral health hacks for everything from congestion to snoring to weight loss. We turned to our team of certified  Read More

How to Treat a Dog Bite

Dogs are undoubtedly man’s best friend, but even the friendliest of creatures can sometimes get spooked or display aggressive behavior. Bites can even happen when giving an excit  Read More

What Our Patients Are Saying

Rating 4.6
Rating 4.2
Rating 4.6
Rating 5.0

"The overall care I received was excellent! I also appreciate your affiliation with Yale New Haven Hospital."

Derby, CT

"Throughout the visit I felt like the staff really cared. The Doctor took his time talking with me about my symptoms, and I felt like he listened to all my concerns and took that into consideration when recommending the right treatment. Thank you!"

Hamden, CT

"I had to take my son in for an ear infection following a sudden change in temperament at daycare. He was inconsolable the entire car ride but when we got there and by the time we left this care facility he was back to his normal happy go lucky little two year old boy. I highly recommend PhysicianOne Urgent Care."

Westwood, MA

"I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the attention you gave me last week. My son was started on antibiotics and ear drops. Within 24 hours he began to feel better. The poor kid had been going to school in tears because he was afraid of missing any more days, but feeling (and looking) just awful! He's not been able to even think about lacrosse practice, but thanks to starting him on antibiotics, he was thrilled to return to practice today."

Somers, NY