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article imageToo much screen time and snacking raises heart disease risk

By Tim Sandle     Jun 12, 2019 in Health
New research finds too much screen time plus the temptation for snacking while glued to a device increases the risk for metabolic disorder in teenagers. The risk increases after six hours per day spent looking at a device.
The new study from Brazil finds that teenagers who sit for several hours watching television, using computers, or playing video games, while eating unhealthy food, stand at an increased risk for several metabolic diseases, like heart disease and diabetes.
This increasing risk occurs when a metabolic disorder arises due to an abnormal chemical reaction in the body, which alters the normal metabolic process. Such an abnormal reaction is associated with diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity and the consequence is that an individual is placed at an elevated risk of getting coronary heart disease, stroke or other conditions that affect the blood vessels.
According to lead researcher Dr. Beatriz Schaan, who works at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul: "The take home message is limiting your screen time is important, but when it is not possible, avoiding snack consumption may help you to reduce your risk of metabolic syndrome."
To assess the data, the researchers looked at the behaviors of 33,900 teenagers, aged between 12 to 17. The scientists took different data points during the study, such as measuring participants' waists and blood pressure, plus they took blood samples in order to measure key markers like glucose, HDL-cholesterol, and triglycerides.
In terms of demographics, 60 percent of the population was female, and the average age was 14.6. About half of the teens were physically active, although 85 percent indicated that they commonly eat snacks in front of a screen. The data analysis revealed that 2.5 percent of the teenagers surveyed had metabolic syndrome. Of these, people who spent six or more hours a day in front of screens were 71 percent more likely to have metabolic syndrome when compared with those who spent fewer hours in front of screens.
The research findings, which formed part of a wider study in Brazil called the Study on Cardiovascular Risks in Adolescents (ERICA), have yet to be published in a peer reviewed journal. However, the research has recently been presented to a meeting of the Endocrine Society, which took place in New Orleans.
More about metabolic disorder, screen time, Heart disease, Teens
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