Teens, Tech & Food – The Connection Between Your Phone and Your Health

Is your cell phone making you fat? It just may be according to new study. Here’s the truth… we’re on our phones, computers and using screens a lot. It’s a part of life. We use it to stay in touch, get information, find directions, play games and more. It turns out that the more you use it, the more likely you are to be overweight.

Researchers at Simon Bolivar University in Columbia found university students that used their smartphones five or more hours a day had a 43% increased risk of obesity.

They found these students ate more fast food, drank more sugary drinks and got less exercise than the students who spent less than five hours on a phone.

“The results of this study allow us to highlight one of the main causes of physical obesity, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease,” says Mantilla-Morrón, a cardiac pulmonary and vascular rehabilitation specialist at the Health Sciences Faculty at the Simón Bolívar University in Barranquilla, Colombia, and lead author of the study. “We have also determined that the amount of time in which a person is exposed to the use of technologies – specifically prolonged cell phone use – is associated with the development of obesity.”


There are other risks with a lot of cell phone use. Depression, bad relationships, poor sleep, and more.

Tech isn’t going anywhere and screens aren’t bad. We simply must learn how to have a healthy relationship with them. NPR’s Anya Kamenetz shared some ideas about some rules we should put in place for us, our young kids and teens. Dr. Jordan Shaprio from Temple University did too.

Maybe it’s time for a “Cell Phone Diet.” There are apps like Moment and Freedom that will help you track your cell phone use and point out when you may be wasting time or spending too much time on mindless scrolling. Another option is to turn off your notifications. I did this a couple years ago on vacation and haven’t turned any back on. Guess what… I haven’t missed anything and my phone isn’t always dinging, vibrating or blinking. It’s freeing to know that the world keeps moving when I’m not scrolling. Let’s support our kids and teens by being an example. Put the phone down, be present and stay healthy.

About the author, James

Thank you for joining me for the Positively Dad journey! My name is James Shaw and I'm a husband and father. I live in the Tampa Bay area with my wife, Terri and our young daughter, Naomi. The goal with Positively Dad for us to think, learn and grow. It's easy to get caught up in the day to day and miss opportunities to become amazing fathers. I trust that the conversations we have on Positively Dad will help you see that fatherhood is truly a journey and that we are better together than figuring it all out on our own.

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