Washington: In the 21st century everyone is hooked up with his smartphone, particularly young people, which lead to a decrease in physical activity, researchers have found. University students who used their smartphones five or more hours a day had a 43 per cent increased risk of obesity and were more likely to have other lifestyle habits that increase the risk of heart disease.
"It is important that the general population know and be aware that, although mobile technology is undoubtedly attractive for its multiple purposes, portability, comfort, access to countless services, information and entertainment sources, it should also be used to improve habits and healthy behaviours," said Mirary Mantilla-Morron, the lead author of the study presented at the ACC Latin America conference.
"Spending too much time in front of the Smartphone facilitates sedentary behaviours, reduces the time of physical activity, which increases the risk of premature death, diabetes, heart disease, different types of cancer, osteoarticular discomfort and musculoskeletal symptoms," added Mirary Mantilla-Morron.
Researchers have analysed 1060 students of the Health Sciences Faculty at the Simon Bolivar University from June to December 2018. The study group consisted of 700 women and 360 men. With an average age of 19 years and 20 years respectively. Participating men were 36.1 per cent likely to be overweight and 42.6 per cent likely to be obese. Women were 63.9 per cent likely to be overweight and 57.4 per cent likely to be obese.
Researchers found the risk of obesity increased by 43 per cent if a smartphone was used five or more hours a day, as participating students were twice as likely to drink more sugary drinks, fast food, sweets, snacks and have decreased physical activity. Twenty-six per cent of the subjects who were overweight and 4.6 per cent who were obese spent more than five hours using their device.
"The results of this study allow us to highlight one of the main causes of physical obesity, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. 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," Mantilla-Morron concluded.