(AscendHealthy.com) – We use our smartphones for everything these days, so it makes sense that most of us keep ours close at hand. As helpful as they can be, the devices can also have a dark side, one that could affect us more than we’ve been aware.
A recent study has drawn a connection between excessive cellphone use and weight gain. According to a press release issued ahead of the upcoming Nutrition.org online conference, which will detail the study’s findings, the implications could be especially important for adolescents and teenagers. We have more on the connection.
One Behavior Affects Another
Most people, especially adolescents and teens, are on their phones a lot. Some users may take up more screen time than they realize, and the extended distraction could have a trickle-down effect on other behaviors. Recent findings by the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) point toward weight gain as one troubling side effect.
It seems that when we become preoccupied with scrolling, healthy decisions are more apt to fall to the wayside. A look at over 53,000 adolescents and teens in Korea showed just two hours of screen time each day significantly increased the amount of junk food they ate and decreased their fruit and vegetable intake.
Subjects who spent at least three hours scrolling each day were most likely to be obese. These findings were more prominent in teens who spent their screen time gaming or scrolling other types of media for entertainment purposes rather than for school or research. “Mindless” scrolling also appears to impact sleep quality and physical activity, further adding to the problem.
Making Healthier Choices
Technology may create new rabbit holes for us to fall into, but it might also offer solutions. We can begin by using apps that limit our screen time, like Digital Wellbeing for Android and iOS Screen Time for iPhone.
Fitness trackers, such as Noom, MyFitnessPal and Weight Watchers, may help turn around poor eating patterns. These and other fitness apps may help us meet our diet and workout goals.
Parents can help adolescents and teens develop healthy behaviors by staying on top of screen time usage and playing active roles in dietary and exercise routines. The earlier young people learn to manage all of the above, the better their chances of avoiding unhealthy patterns and slipping into obesity. According to Healthline, experts also recommend keeping the snacks away while scrolling to reduce the chances of mindless eating.
Our smartphones could be among the most valuable tools we own — as long as we use them wisely. We can minimize usage-induced eating patterns by making the most of the positive applications available to us. Bad habits are easy to fall into, and their effects can be far-reaching, but healthier alternatives are ready and waiting.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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