internet, obesity, and weight loss

Overweight? It May Be the Internet’s Fault

New study: Too much time online expands waistlines, even for people who exercise.

Overweight? It May Be the Internet’s Fault

Watching your weight? Step away from the keyboard as often as possible.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—If you really want to win the weight-loss battle, learn to strike a balance—not just on your plate, but also in how you spend your free time. A new study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research finds that people who spend more time in front of computers have a higher obesity risk, even if they think they get enough exercise during the week.

THE DETAILS: The researchers surveyed 2,650 Australian adults and asked them questions about their levels of physical activity, Internet and computer use during leisure time, and other sedentary activities, such as reading, talking on the phone, playing video games, or watching television. Internet use and physical activity were divided into three categories: none, low (less than three hours per week), and high (more than three hours); sedentary activities were divided into low (less than 2.5 hours), medium (2.5 to 5 hours per week), and high (more than five hours).

People with the highest levels of computer use were 1.5 times more likely to be overweight and 2.5 times more likely to be obese than people who didn’t use a computer at all. Those people were also more likely to report lower levels of physical activity, and were 2.5 times more likely to engage in more than five hours a day of other sedentary activities. But interestingly, adults who spent a lot of time at the computer and still had high levels of physical activity were 1.86 times more likely to be overweight or obese than people who spent no time in front of the computer.


Published on: July 30, 2009

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