Screen time during meals causes childhood obesity

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KUWAIT CITY, May 15: A recent scientific study has uncovered an unexpected factor contributing to childhood obesity: the use of phones and television during meal times. According to findings reported by the British newspaper “The Telegraph,” children who engage with electronic screens while eating are more likely to experience significant weight gain.

Researchers from the University of Minho in Portugal discovered that children allowed to use devices during meals were 15% more likely to carry excess weight compared to those who did not. The study, which involved 735 children aged between six and ten years, examined their eating habits over a 24-hour period and surveyed parents about screen usage rules during meal times. Experts caution that the study’s findings may underestimate the issue, as some parents may not openly admit to allowing screen use during breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Dr. Ana Duarte, the lead researcher, noted the decline of family meals, attributing it to busy schedules. She emphasized that when children eat while watching TV or using mobile phones, they tend to overeat as their attention is diverted by screens. Tam Fry, co-founder of the Child Development Foundation, lamented the disappearance of family meals and the health consequences for children, such as developing adult diseases like diabetes.

He criticized the normalization of leaving children unsupervised with phones or in front of the television, labeling it as harmful to their health. Fry expressed disappointment that despite efforts over the past two decades to address obesity, the problem persists. The researchers highlighted the link between excessive screen time and health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and sleep disturbances. The study underscores the importance of reducing screen usage during meals to promote healthier eating habits and combat childhood obesity.

This news has been read 743 times!

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