More Time Spent In Front of a Screen Increases Diabetes Risks in Children

Your parents always told you that sitting too close to the screen was bad for your eyes. But new research also indicates that spending time in front of a television or computer screen could lead to Type 2 Diabetes.

The Study

Dr. Nightingale and fellow researchers at St. George’s University of London determined that children who spend up to three hours or more in front of a screen each day showed greater markers for Type 2 Diabetes.

They gathered health data and daily screen-time habits from 4,495 children between the ages of 9 and 10 years old from 2004 to 2007. The health data included blood testing for cardiovascular and diabetes risk markers, and a Ponderal Index exam to check height, weight, and thickness of body folds.

The screen-time habits averaged as follows:

  • 28% spent 1-2 hours in front of a screen
  • 13% spent 2-3 hours in front of a screen
  • 18% spent 3+ hours in front of a screen


The Results

Of the skinfold thickness and Ponderal Index, body fat analysis of the children who spent more time in front of a screen had a higher percentage of both. However, the biggest effects were seen in their blood markers.

Avid television watchers, gamers, and computer fiends were about 10.5% more insulin resistant than those who didn’t spend as much time in front of a screen. They also had about 9.2% more leptin, a hormone that regulates appetite and insulin sensitivity.

What Does It Mean?

Well, increased screen-time of 3+ hours a day is strongly correlated with diabetes risks, like higher body fat percentage, leptin, and insulin insensitivity. It’s possible that these children are at greater risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes in adulthood.

In contrast, reducing screen-time to 1-2 hours daily may help reduce the risks of developing this disease.

[expand title=”References“]

Screen Time is Associated with Adiposity and Insulin Resistance in Children. URL Link. Accessed August 2nd, 2017.

Screen Time Linked To Diabetes. URL Link. Accessed August 2nd, 2017.

Children Staring at Screens for Three Hours Daily More Likely To Develop Type 2 Diabetes. URL Link. Accessed August 2nd, 2017.


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