Lots of parents struggle to manage their teens and their screens, but new research is giving us another reason to encourage them to put down the devices. A study from South Korea finds that teens who use their smartphone for more than two hours a day are significantly more likely to eat more junk food and fewer fresh fruits and veggies than those who spend less time on their phones.
The study analyzed the results of a survey of over 53-thousand 12 to 18-year-olds in South Korea that asked about how often the teens engage in healthy habits, less healthy behaviors, and how much time they spend on their phones. And it turns out, those unhealthy behaviors increase with increasing phone use. The research shows:
- Teens who spend more than three hours a day on a smartphone are significantly more likely to be overweight or obese.
- Those who clock at least five daily hours on their phone are more likely to drink sodas and non-carbonated sweetened beverages and eat fast food compared to teens who spend less than two hours a day on their phone.
- Adolescents who use their phones to search for information have healthier eating habits than those who use the phones to chat, message, play games, watch videos, listen to music and connect on social media.
- Teens who mostly use their phones to play games, watch videos, listen to music or read novels online are more likely to be overweight or obese.