Seeing a teenager glued to a smartphone or tablet is a common site these days, but is all that screen time healthy? A new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has uncovered a key reason why parents may want to limit the use of electronic media.
Using data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, researchers analyzed the health information for nearly 25,000 ninth through twelfth graders. According to their findings, teens who spent more time using smartphones, tablets, computers, and playing video games had a 43% higher risk of obesity than their non tech-obsessed counterparts. Frequent screen time was also linked to exercising less and drinking more sugary beverages.
In the United States alone, teenagers spend more than 6 hours a day using screen devices, but this study found that just two hours or more each day was tied to poor health outcomes. Researchers believe limiting screen time may be an important step toward combating rising obesity rates among American youth.