Riley Mug Shot - © 2018

Smart Phone Abuse May Seriously Damage Heart Health

A shocking new study has revealed that inactivity may be more dangerous than what or how much one eats when it comes to controlling one’s risk of cardiovascular disease. What was even more surprising was that the study involved not sedentary older folks but young university students…

Riley the Wonder Dog - © 2018 Maggiejs.caRiley The Wonder Dog: Get a dog and walk it! The best fitness prescription a doctor
could make. But few do, preferring to push pills and recommend diets rather
than lifestyle changes like walking more, which are harder to convince
folks – especially the sedentary, overweight and obese – to do…

What they did

Researchers analyzed 1060 students of the Health Sciences Faculty at Simón Bolívar University in Colombia from June to December 2018. The study group consisted of 700 women and 360 men, with an average age of 19 years and 20 years respectively. Some 36.1 percent of participating men were judged overweight and 42.6 percent of those were judged obese, while 63.9 percent of women in the study overweight and 57.4 percent of were obese.

Study subjects were examined to determine their physical condition, and questioned about their daily habits. One aspect of their routines, diets and lifestyles stood out above all else.

What they found

Researchers found the risk of obesity increased by 43 percent over the average non-obese student if a smartphone was used five or more hours a day. Participating students were twice as likely to drink more sugary drinks, eat fast food, sweets, snacks, and take part in decreased physical activity. Twenty-six percent of the subjects who were overweight and 4.6 percent who were obese spent more than five hours per day using their mobile devices

The takeaway

“It is important that the general population know and be aware that, although mobile technology is undoubtedly attractive for its multiple purposes, portability, comfort, and access to countless services, information and entertainment sources, it should also be used [sparingly] to improve habits and healthy behaviors,” said Study report Lead Author Mirary Mantilla-Morrón, a Rehabilitation Specialist at Simón Bolívar. “Spending too much time in front of [a] Smartphone facilitates sedentary behaviors, [and] 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.”

My take

I wasn’t surprised that spending excess time in front of a screen of any kind increased the probability that a user would become overweight or obese, but I was shocked that just 5 hours a day could cause as much as a 43 percent increase in the risk of becoming obese and, by association, falling prey to the many associated serious health risks – especially among university students. When I went to university, most students had to walk wherever they wanted to go, and a visibly overweight or obese person was a rare sight on campus. How times have (apparently) changed!

Also, It seemed to me that 5 hours of smart phone / screen time a day was not a lot compared to what many folks obviously put in. No wonder there are so many overweight and obese people out there, just in general!

I also took a moment to reflect on my oft-offered suggestion for how to lose eight and keep it off with the least trouble and the greatest pleasure: Get a dog. You’ll both enjoy the daily walk(s), and you’ll benefit not only from improved fitness but also from all the other social and emotional benefits a four-legged best friend will bring to your life…

~ Maggie J.