Kids and teenagers who spend a lot of time in front of screens are at risk of metabolic syndrome, a study has found.
Researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that assessed the association between screen time and metabolic syndrome among children. They searched multiple online databases for relevant cross-sectional, case-control, and cohort design studies.
A total of seven studies were included in the meta-analysis. Pooled data, obtained using random-effects models and linear and nonlinear dose-response, showed that the longest vs shortest duration of screen time was associated with more than a 60-percent increase in the likelihood of metabolic syndrome among children (odds ratio [OR]1.64, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.32–2.03; with little evidence of heterogeneity, I2=9.3 percent; pheterogeneity=0.35; seven studies) and among adolescents (OR, 1.64, 95 percent CI, 1.27–2.12; I2=27.7 percent; six studies).
Results were consistent across several additional subgroup analyses. There was a positive linear relationship between screen time and the risk of metabolic syndrome (pdose-response<0.0001; pnonlinearity=0.64). Specifically, each 2 hours/day increment in screen time carried a 29-percent risk increase (OR, 1.29, 95 percent CI, 1.12–1.46).
The findings have important public health implications. Public health strategies can target unhealthy screen-based related behaviors to halt the development of metabolic syndrome among children and adolescents.