Watching TV for 3 hours daily may up diabetes risk in kids

A little boy watching the television

The study published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood said that children spending more than three hours staring at smartphone, TV screens or their computer systems are at a risk of having type-2 diabetes.

The researchers assessed a sample of almost 4,500 nine to ten-year-old pupils from 200 primary schools in London, Birmingham and Leicester for a series of metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors.

Comparing the groups, researchers found the children who reported three or more hours of screen time scored higher on various measures of body fat. The researchers tested blood pressure, body fat, insulin resistance, blood fats and fasting blood glucose levels as well as estimated screen times including phones, computers, television and video games.

According to the Express UK, only four percent of the kids said they never spent any time staring at screens, while just over a third (37 percent) said they spent an hour or less on it. One study showed that spending lots of time watching TV increases the risk of type 2 diabetes in adults.

"This is particularly relevant, given rising levels of type 2 diabetes, the early emergence of type 2 diabetes risk, and recent trends suggesting that screen time related activities are increasing".

The Independent UK reported that the scientists said their findings were of "considerable potential public health interest" but emphasised further research was needed to prove the link between diabetes risk and screen time. There was also a strong correlation between screen time and levels of a hormone known as leptin, which controls appetite.

Often touted as an age-related ailment, diabetes is not only victimising the young but the cause of it also lies so deeply embedded in their daily lifestyle.

The prevalence of digital devices, like smartphones and tablets, is affecting teenagers, too, though not in ways you might suspect.

The researchers said the link between diabetes risk factors and screen time was seen even when potentially influential factors such as household income, family background, physical activity levels and puberty stage were taken into account. The kids were asked how many hours per day they spend watching TV or playing video games. And now there are other gadgets available as well - smartphones, tabs and laptops. They say that interactive media plays to the same impulses as drug experimentation.

It also showed that 28 percent of the participants, spent 1 to 2 hours daily on electronic devices, while 13 percent used these devices for at least 2 to 3 hours.

Dr. Silvia Martins, a substance abuse expert at Columbia University who has already been exploring how to study the relationship of internet and drug use among teenagers, called the theory "highly plausible".

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