The findings showed that children with increased exposure to digital screens may be at risk of having high adiposity levels, which describes total body fat, and, crucially, insulin resistance, which occurs when cells fail to respond to insulin, the hormone produced by the pancreas to control levels of blood glucose.
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“Our findings suggest that reducing screen time may be beneficial in reducing Type 2 diabetes risk factors, in both boys and girls, from an early age,” said Claire. M. Nightingale from St George’s, University of London.
“This is particularly relevant, given rising levels of Type 2 diabetes, the early emergence of Type 2 diabetes risk, and recent trends suggesting that screen time-related activities are increasing in childhood and may pattern screen-related behaviours in later life,” Nightingale added, in a paper published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.
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Children who reported spending three or more hours of daily screen time showed high ponderal index — an indicator of weight in relation to height — and skinfolds thickness and fat mass — indicators of total body fat — than in those who said they spent an hour or less on it.
Further, there was also a strong link between a daily quota of three or more hours of screen time and levels of leptin, the hormone that controls appetite, glucose and insulin resistance, the researchers said.
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For the study, the team assessed a sample of nearly 4,500 9-10 year old pupils from 200 primary schools in London, Birmingham and Leicester for a series of metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors.
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