New Study Shows Cellphones May Be To Blame For Weight Gain

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breezi_placeit (15) We have all heard the dangers of cellphone use when it comes to texting and driving. It turns out that mobile phones are simply a distraction that most of us just can’t resist.For instance do you remember hearing the news about these two lifeguards who were fired for watching their phones instead of the swimmers.

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It seems like every week we keep hearing about the dangers of cellphone use and now we have another danger to add the list. OUR HEALTH. Take a look at this research done by the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity and how it relates to the health of not only our generation but also that of our kids!

Researchers studying college students found that cellphone use — much like watching television — may significantly decrease physical activity and fitness levels.

“Using a cellphone doesn’t have the same kind of negative stigma that sitting on the couch and watching TV has, but it can be just as bad for you,” said study co-author Jacob Barkley, an associate professor of exercise science at Kent State University in Ohio.

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How Mobile Phones Are Slowing Us Down

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The study found that students spend an average of almost five hours on their cellphones and send hundreds of text messages every day, Barkley said.

Despite the fact that cellphones are mobile devices, they slow people down, Barkley said.

  • Texting on the way to the bus stop, people walk more slowly,
  • When trying to do two things at once. Going to the park for a run, they stop to look for messages,
  • Walking past a beautiful scene, they halt and take a photo, and then send it to their friends via Facebook.

“Before you know it you’ve fallen down into this little wormhole sitting on a park bench, playing on your phone,” Barkley said. Smartphones have enormous capacity to significantly change people’s lifestyles and health habits, a public health expert agreed. According to Nancy Copperman, director of public health initiatives at North Shore-LIJ Health System, in Great Neck, N.Y,

“Heavy cellphone use can create mindless eating, much as television does. If you’re using your cellphone during much of your time awake, you have to sometimes be eating while using the device.”

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Other Alarming Affects To Consider

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Kids and cell phones

Cellphone use can also affect sleep. Some students have been known to “sleep text” — sending messages while they’re sleeping and not remembering they did it when they wake up.

While this study focused on college students who were about 20 years of age, many of today’s elementary school students are just as tethered to smartphones. “This is probably affecting physical activity in younger kids now, too,” Copperman said.

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So Are Cellphones Making People Fat?

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For the study, the researchers surveyed more than 300 college students about their cellphone use, leisure activities and physical activity. Then 49 students used a treadmill test to evaluate their heart and lung fitness.

In that group, those who spent a lot of time on their cellphones — up to 14 hours daily — were less fit than participants who only averaged about 1.5 hours of use.

The findings took into account factors such as gender, percentage of body fat and “self-efficacy” — the participant’s confidence that he or she could be active in a variety of settings, Barkley said.

High-frequency cellphone users tended to report they were involved in more sedentary activities than were low-frequency users. The researchers said that high cellphone users may also be attracted to other forms of digital media such as television, movies, computers and video games.

However, the research can’t conclude that cellphones are causing people to be less fit, Barkley acknowledged. “It’s possible that less fit people use their cellphones more,” he said.

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Practical Advice For All

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Copperman offered some practical advice. She thinks parents should monitor not just what their children on doing on their smartphones, but how frequently they are using them. Adults should start monitoring themselves, too, she suggested, noting if they’re interrupting physical activity by using their phones, or making their cellphone their dinner companion. Still don’t believe that we have

“People should take time from their cellular technology for a better quality of life,” Copperman said.

*Sources: WebMD via International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 

Photo Credit: davitydave via Compfight cc

 

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