Obesity has been linked to technology in a recent study. The research also claims that low-income countries could soon see a rise in type 2 diabetes and other weight gain issues due to a growing trend in cars, TVs and computers.
Seventeen countries were involved in the recent study by Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological (PURE). From those 17 countries, 107,599 households were involved with a total of 153,996 people between them. Their home environments were monitored, along with their health. There was a mixture of incomes between the families, including high, medium and low income families.
There was a significant pattern in those who owned all three of the devices previously mentioned. The level of obesity rose by 400 percent, with diabetes raising by 250 percent when looking at the families on low incomes who owned all three of the devices. Physical activity decreased by 31 percent, with 21 percent more sitting, indicating that this is the reason for gaining weight. The waist sizes of the individuals was also 9 cm larger.
These figures come from comparing those who owned all three devices to those owning none of them at all. It was also only seen in the low-income families. The higher earners showed no link to the technology and weight gain. Researchers suggested that there was already a plateau effect among those who earn more, and that they already have the issues of being overweight and obese.
Based on the link of technology and obesity, the researchers suggest that the low-income countries could soon see the same weight gain issues that higher-income countries have seen over the last decade. People sit too much and consume too many calories, but do not do the physical activity to work them all off.
Not all households owned all three of the devices. The television was the most common item out of the three, with 78 percent of the participants stating that they owned one. The car was the least common with just 32 percent owning one. This was just two percent less than those who owned a computer.
Some suggestions to help reduce the risk of obesity involves offering more fruit and vegetables to the low-income earners. This led to the belief that offering grocery stores close to the homes would help. However, a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine dating back to 2011 does not show any change in diets when people get grocery stores close to their homes. This study was carried out across five cities and involved 5,000 people.
Other studies since have shown that the diet is not linked to the environment around people. Author of a published study in Social Science and Medicine in 2012, Helen Lee, explained that it is not the location of the grocery stores that is a problem, and low-income families in the United States usually have more access to grocery stores than the wealthier families.
Weight is a major issue for many of the developed countries around the world. The high-income countries are looking for ways to reduce it, but the low-income countries need to be careful. The recent studying linking technology and obesity shows that the issues are on the rise in those countries.
By Alexandria Ingham