New research in Canada has brought to light some unexpected information about the correlation between technology and obesity. The study looked at the amount of time spent sitting in front of a screen, such as a television or computer, and how this affected the waistlines of the viewers.
The study found that people who watched 21 or more hours of television per week, at least three hours per day, were almost twice as likely to be obese as those watching five hours or less per week. The amount of time spent watching television maintained its connection to obesity regardless education, age, whether people lived in an urban or rural environment and income.
These results are not particularly surprising. It makes sense that the more sedentary a person is, the more likely they are to be obese. The surprising part of the research came when the study looked at an equally sedentary activity; reading. Those who engaged in a lot of reading did not show the same increased risk of obesity as those who spend time in front of a screen. Even when the factors of diet and exercise were controlled, the study still found a correlation between screen time and obesity.
This suggests that there may be something about television and computers which actively encourages weight gain. The authors of the study have said that further research needs to be done, given that as a society we are becoming increasingly dependant on screens.
Fun fact: you burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television.
To find out more read the Techvibes article Why technology makes us fat.