Screen time, obesity and diabetes risk

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I came across an article this week published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood entitled ‘Screen time is associated with adiposity and insulin resistance in children’. In it the researchers studied more than 4000 children aged 9-10 years who had participated in the Child Heart and Health Study in the UK which ran between 2004-2007. In this study screen time meant time spent in front of a television, computer or games console (now we would also need to include tablets, smartphones etc.). The study found a strong relationship between higher screen time and fatness, something which has been shown in other studies. Worryingly, even in children of this young age, they also found a relationship between more screen time and risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Although this study does not prove that more screen time causes obesity and diabetes, the authors go so far as to suggest that reducing screen time might help in preventing type 2 diabetes onset, although more studies would be needed to determine whether this would be effective. Nevertheless, it is worth thinking about the amount of time children spend in front of screens, and perhaps those of us caring for children should be prepared to at least discuss this with children and their families. You can see the full article here if you want to read more.

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Images courtesy of Pablo Garcia Saldana and Julia Raasch on Unsplash

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