A new study found that teens who spent more than 2 hours per day on their smartphones were more likely to eat more processed foods and fewer fruits and vegetables.
Teens who spent more than 3 hours per day on a smartphone were significantly more likely to be overweight or obese.
Health experts say there are simple ways to reduce the negative effects that smartphone use may be having on your diet and health. Screens and teens are a combination parents try to manage for multiple reasons.
A study out of South Korea adds one more reason to the list. The study analyzed data of more than 53,000 Korean adolescents from the Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-Based Survey and found that teens who used a smartphone for more than 2 hours per day were significantly more likely to eat more processed foods and fewer fruits and vegetables than teens who put their phones down more often.
Additionally, teenagers who spent more than 3 hours per day on a smartphone were significantly more likely to be overweight or obese.
“These results do not surprise me considering that screen time is a totally sedentary activity occupying time in which teens could be participating in sports or other physical activities,” Dr. Rekha B. Kumar, attending endocrinologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and medical director of the American Board of Obesity Medicine, told Healthline.
Teens who spent at least 5 hours on their phone daily were more likely to drink carbonated and noncarbonated sugar-sweetened beverages, and eat fast food, chips, and instant noodles compared to respondents who spent less than 2 hours a day on their phone.
Respondents who used their phones to search for information had healthier eating behaviors than those who turned to their phones to chat, use messenger, play games, watch videos, listen to music, and connect on social media.
Teens who turned to their phone mostly to play games, watch videos, listen to music, or read webtoons or web novels were more likely to be overweight or obese.
Time can pass by quickly when a screen is in hand, making it easy to eat while on the phone and not pay attention to the amount of food you’re consuming.
“When we aren’t mindful about our eating (which occurs while we are eating while on a screen) we tend to vastly overeat.