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Study: Too much screen time for kids can lead to obesity

Obesity among children is a major health issue in Finland as in the rest of the world.

Nuori poika katsoo telkkaria.
Image: AOP

A new study by the University of Helsinki and non-governmental organisation Folkhälsan has found that Finnish children who have a lot of screen time have a greater risk of obesity, regardless of how much they exercise.

Spending a lot of time on a device had a direct connection to being overweight and central adiposity, which is carrying extra weight around the waistline, even in children who move a lot. The study did not measure the type of exercise the children undertook.

However, there is a caveat. ”It’s important to note that this study doesn’t tell us about causality. It may be that overweight children spend more time in front of the screen or that significant screen time leads to obesity,” said researcher Elina Engberg in a University of Helsinki press release.

Their study 'Heavy screen users are the heaviest among 10,000 children' was published in Scientific Reports, an online open-access journal, earlier this month.

More than 10,000 children from around Finland between the ages of 9 to 12 participated in the study.

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