Children who spend more than three hours a day in front of a screen are at greater risk of developing diabetes according to new research.
It’s mostly due to the lack of exercise with research showing that those getting screen time three or more hours a day had higher body fat and higher levels of resistance to the hormone insulin than their peers who spent an hour or less watching TV, videos or playing computer games.
The authors cautioned that the research does not show that increased screentime itself results in raised levels of risk factors for the disease.
“Screentime could be capturing something about your behaviours – how much sedentary time you have and how much you break that up [or] what your dietary habits [are], potentially,” said Claire Nightingale, a medical statistician at St George’s, University of London and co-author of the research.
Dan Howarth, head of care at Diabetes UK said that the study highlights a worrying trend.
“The rising number of type 2 diabetes in children is an alarming statistic and addressing the nation’s childhood obesity issues should be the responsibility of us all,” he said.
“Encouraging physical activity over a sedentary lifestyle, such as that relating to screen time, and a healthy balanced diet clearly plays a significant part.”