Do you often sit in front of TV for long hours, munching into your favourite snack? Here's why you must stop. According to a latest study, teenagers who sit for hours watching TV, using the computer or playing video games while eating unhealthy snacks are at increased risk for heart diseases and diabetes.
The researchers said that the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors --including increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist -- also increases the likelihood of developing heart disease, increase risk stroke, and diabetes. Metabolic syndrome is a fairly common condition that is afflicting 25 percent of the adult population and approximately 5.4 percent of children and adolescents in the United States and other countries presently.
"The take-home message is limiting your screen time is important, but when it is not possible, avoiding snack consumption may help you to reduce your risk of metabolic syndrome," said lead researcher Beatriz Schaan.
The research was part of the Study on Cardiovascular Risks in Adolescents (ERICA), a nationwide school-based survey of Brazilian teens.
For the study, the team analysed the data collected from 33,900 teenagers aged 12 to 17. They measured teens' waist, blood pressure and took blood samples to measure blood glucose, HDL-cholesterol, and triglycerides. About 60 percent of teens were females and the average age was 14.6. 85 percent said they usually eat snacks in front of the TV, while 64 percent usually ate snacks while using the computer or playing video games.
About 2.5 percent of the teens had metabolic syndrome, teenagers who spent six or more hours a day in front of screens were 71 percent more likely to have metabolic syndrome, the findings suggested.
It must be noted that the heightened risk was only observed in those who reported usually eating snacks in front of screens. No similar associated was seen in participants who reported no snacking in front of screens
"As we live surrounded by screens, especially young people, sometimes it is not feasible to eliminate or reduce screen time. In these cases, avoiding snack consumption may be easier. Beyond reducing screen time, interventions aiming to reduce snacking in front of screens among youth should be evaluated," Schaan concluded.
The research will be presented on Monday (March 25) at ENDO 2019, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society, in New Orleans, Louisiana.
(With inputs ANI)