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Step Away from the Tablet

Step Away from the Tablet

Step Away from the Tablet

Devices linked to obesity risk

With summer weather upon is there is absolutely no excuse to be cooped up inside.  Kids and teens alike have options like running through the sprinkler, playing tag or even helping out in the garden to stay active.  On hot days it can be fun to sip on some cool fruit infused water and count cars as they drive by – hey it could even be an opportunity to open a lemonade stand!  Whichever activity it is, it’s better than using your smart phone or tablet according to research published in Brain Imaging and Behavior.      

Researchers suggest that multitasking between tablet, phone and computer may alter the way our brains work, in turn, altering weight and risk for obesity.  This two part study aimed to understand how distractions from social media alerts, the urge to check text messages or browsing content online affect schoolwork, conversation, even the way we eat

Through an extensive questionnaire, they found people that were more easily distracted by media tended to have higher BMI and body fat.  Taking it a step further, they assessed brain activity of participants after being shown images of food, observing more brain activity in the areas related to temptation suggesting that a desire to eat more may be triggered.    

In a world where obesity is almost at 40% and use of electronics such as smartphones and tablets is also on the rise it’s important to consider how impulse control and learning moderation at an early age can help prevent potential overeating and weight gain over time. 

Take an opportunity to instill good media habits within your family. 

  • Consider having dedicated screen times to avoid overuse 
  • Use the do not disturb feature on all tablets and smartphones to avoid having a constant stream of alerts
  • Adjust push notifications within apps to minimize pop ups
  • Lead by example, teach children to make the people they are with the priority, not their phone
  • Keep screens out of the bedroom, this includes the TV!  One study showed a TV in the bedroom correlated to a 30% increased risk of overweight

Did you know:  Just two hours of tablet use a day has resulted in lower scores on thinking and language tests?

Published August 1st 2019

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