Children Who Watch Too Much TV Have a Higher Diabetes Risk

Boy watching TV

A new study found that too much screen time for children leads to a higher diabetes risk

A study published in Archives of Disease in Childhood suggests that children who spend more than three hours a day looking at screens are subjected to various risks, such as the onset of diabetes. The study does not refer only to TV screens, as the risks also concern children who use other devices, such as tablets, smartphones, computers, or gaming consoles.

Previous studies discovered that too much time spent in front of the television caused weight gain and a higher risk of type 2 diabetes in adults. Prolonged viewing causes the development of adiposity and of fat cells. Adiposity also increases the body’s resistance to insulin, thus leading to diabetes.

What impact do electronic devices have on children?

Researchers looked at 4,500 children aged between 9 and 10 to see the effects of high usage of electronic devices on children. They looked at the amount of fats in their blood, the blood sugar during fasting, their resistance towards insulin, and their blood pressure. Also, they questioned the children on the time they spent on computers, gaming consoles, or watching television.

They performed the research between 2004 and 2007 and had 5,887 children take their survey. The results showed that only 4 percent of them did not watch television at all. Nearly 37 percent did not spend too much time looking at screens. They spend around an hour or less.

Twenty-eight percent of the children spent between one and two hours per day in front of the television, and 13 percent used the devices for two or three hours. These are still normal viewing habits. However, there were some who spent more time glued to a screen.

Children who watch too much TV scored lower results

Eighteen percent registered 3 or more hours of watching television. Out of all children who participated in the survey, 22 percent of the boys and 14 of the girls admitted that they did not have too healthy viewing habits.

The ponderal index of these children, which also accounts for their weight and body fat, was higher than that found in children with fewer viewing hours. Thus, the researchers warn parents to be more careful with how much they allow their children to watch TV. A higher ponderal index might lead to the onset of type 2 diabetes. Also, too much time spent in front of a screen might cause other health problems.

The complete study can be consulted here.
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