Five-year-olds who play three or more hours of video games a day are MORE likely to be overweight as teens – and late nights and sugary drinks are also to blame, studies say
- A study of more than 16,000 children looked at what affected weight gain
- Found that those who play a lot of video games tend to be fat teens
- Also, late bedtimes and sugary drinks have been linked to increased BMI
Parents who let their child play many video games enroll the youngster for weight gain ten years later, a study found.
More than 16,000 children aged five to 14 were followed, and scientists assessed the relationship between video games and weight.
The results showed that children who regularly played video games as a five-year-old had a higher BMI nine years later, compared to those who did not play video games.
Drinking sugary drinks and irregular bedtimes also have a significant impact on children, the study found, and may be partly to blame for the weight change.
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Research found that children who regularly played video games as a five-year-old had a higher BMI nine years later, compared to those who didn’t play video games (stock photo)
The study, funded by Cancer Research UK, is the first to look at the potential effect of video game use on children’s BMI over time.
Scientists used a BMI measure specifically designed to measure the level of obesity while adapting to the different growth rates of children as they grow older.
The BMI-SDS range considered healthy from five to twenty years is between two and one year, while the possible risk of being overweight is defined as one to two.
Five-year-olds who played three hours or more of video games per day had an associated 0.085 higher BMI-SDS of 14 years compared to non-playing children.
Lead author Dr. Rebecca Beeken, from the University of Leeds, said: “Childhood obesity is one of the biggest public health threats facing this country: over a third of children in the UK leave primary school due to being overweight or obesity.
‘This research shows a possible link between gaming in young children and an increased chance of a higher weight in later years.
It also shows that consuming sugar-sweetened drinks and going to bed at irregular times may be partly responsible for the associated weight gain.
While the effect size across the group is relatively small, gaming can pose a significant risk of weight gain for some children.
“However, we have to remember that obesity is complex, and this may only be a small part of the puzzle.”
Drinking sugary drinks and irregular bedtimes also has a significant impact on children, the study found, and may be partly to blame for the weight change, but video game use saw the strongest link (stock)
Researchers pointed out brands such as Red Bull, Coca Cola, Boost, and Monster are some of the many beverage companies that encourage gamers to buy and consume sugar-sweetened beverages that can cause weight gain.
This is legal because there are no restrictions on advertising such items through video games, unlike TV.
Dr. Beeken said, “It is recognized that advertising of sugar-sweetened beverages to children should be strictly monitored on television, but video game advertising has not been considered to the same extent.
“There is an urgent need for stricter advertising laws to avoid encouraging young gamers to drink large amounts of unhealthy products that we know can have lasting health effects.”
The effects persisted even considering the amount of other screen time children were exposed to, such as watching television.
PhD student William Goodman, who conducted the research at University College London, said, “We certainly don’t suggest that gamers or their parents should throw their consoles out the window.
“But we think it’s important to recognize that some gamers are at risk of gaining weight and that we can take steps to minimize these risks.
One option would be to encourage parents to use the built-in parental controls on game consoles to set time limits for the time children can play.
Another option would be to work with game developers to integrate behavior change components into games to drive positive behavior change.
“There is no way to proceed without talking to the gaming community about possible next steps.”
Findings were published in the JAMA Pediatric magazine.
WHY DOES WHO HAVE CLASSIFICATION OF INTERNET GAMING AS A SPIRITUAL HEALTH INTERFERENCE?
WHO classifies internet gaming as an official mental disorder
The World Health Organization has classified video game play on the Internet as an official mental disorder.
“Game Disorder” is defined as “a pattern of gaming behavior characterized by diminished control over gaming, prioritizing gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuing or escalating gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences. ‘
To receive a diagnosis of spelling disorder, the individual must:
(1) Experience significant limitations in personal, family, social, educational, occupational, or other important areas of functioning
(2) Have experienced this disorder for at least 12 months
The WHO advises gamers to watch how much time they spend playing, especially if it excludes other daily activities.
They should also be alert to changes in their physical or psychological health and social functioning that can be attributed to gaming.