Those who use their smartphones for at least five hours a day are at a higher risk of obesity, a study has shown.

According to the research by the Health Sciences Faculty at the Simón Bolívar University in Barranquilla, Colombia, people who use their phones at such levels had a 43 percent higher risk of becoming obese, due to their likely consumption of fast food, or sugary snacks and drinks, and lack of exercise.

For the research, a total of 1,060 students (700 women and 360 men) from the university had their BMI (Body Mass Index) readings, as well as their dietary habits and daily mobile usage patterns taken.

Of the surveyed group, 36.1 percent of the surveyed men were likely to be overweight, and 42.6 percent obese, while the women were 63.9 percent likely to be overweight and 57.4 percent likely obese, the report found.

"It is important that the general population know and be aware that, although mobile technology is undoubtedly attractive for its multiple purposes, portability, comfort, access to countless services, information and entertainment sources, it should also be used to improve habits and healthy behaviours.

"Spending too much time in front of the smartphone facilitates sedentary behaviours, reduces the time of physical activity, which increases the risk of premature death, diabetes, heart disease, different types of cancer, osteoarticular discomfort and musculoskeletal symptoms," lead author of the study Mirary Mantilla-Morrón, a cardiac pulmonary and vascular rehabilitation specialist at the Health Sciences Faculty at the Simón Bolívar University in Barranquilla, Colombia, said.

Authors of the study added that there are some 7.9 billion smartphones on the planet: more than people. The World Health Organization has estimated that by 2030, more than 1 billion people worldwide, including adolescents, and children, will suffer from obesity.

Scary statistics indeed. Guess the key word here is moderation. It's undeniable that smartphones are a necessity nowadays, but one must make sure that they do not become addicted to it, at the expense of their wellbeing.

Source: Newsweek
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