Internet Use, Obesity, and Health: Understanding the Link

by Cheryl Ann Borne Patient Advocate

The Link Between Internet Use, Obesity, and Poor Healts a society, we have transitioned to a sedentary lifestyle that is more hazardous to our health than smoking.

We sit in our cars when we commute to work daily, sit behind a desk for eight or more hours in the workplace, return to our cars for the commute back home, then sit in front of a television until bedtime when we relieve ourselves of all that sitting by laying down for eight hours.

Our newly developed rigor mortis lifestyle has even been labeled as "sitting disease."

Studies show that extended periods of inactivity increase the risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.

For the younger faction of the population who are not yet among the workforce, the Internet is available to sit in front of for excessive hours while health is worn away like a rock beneath the flow of a river. As they say, a little something for everybody.

The Link Between the Internet and Obesitxcess time on the Internet equals excess inches around the waistline.

This is not go say that Internet use causes weight gain or obesity, although there is clearly a correlation. It has not been determined if it is a case of Internet use contributing to weight gain or if overweight people simply use the Internet more often than average weight people do. However, it has been found that people who spend a great amount of time on the Internet also engage more in other sedentary behaviors.

In a study published in the Journal of Internet Medical Research, researchers asked an Australian sample of adults questions about their sedentary behaviors and their level of physical activity. It was discovered that those who spent the most time on a computer were 1.5 times more likely to be overweight and 2.5 more likely to be obese than those who did not use a computer at all. Even those adult computer users who had high levels of physical activity were 1.86 times more likely to be overweight or obese than people who spent no time on computers.

Internet Use and Risk Factors Among Young People

In a study among both male and female first year students at the University of Hong Kong, it was found that heavy Internet users were least likely to eat healthy, exercise, or have adequate hygiene. Although heavy Internet users were most likely to develop health issues, they were the group that was least likely to seek medical attention. Heavy internet users also had less friends and less romantic relationships.

Students in Qatar were questioned directly about their use of the Internet, and it was discovered that almost 2 percent of children who spent over three hours per day on the Internet were overweight or obese with the highest proportion of obese children in the 15-18 year old age bracket. There is special concern about these older teens because their poor habits are likely to continue and make it more probable that they will develop chronic diseases and health problems when they reach adulthood.

Do you have sitting disease? What are some of the ways you get moving? How can we get children to spend less time on computers and more time on physical activity?

Cheryl Ann Borne
Meet Our Writer
Cheryl Ann Borne

Cheryl Ann Borne, writing as My Bariatric Life, is a contributing writer and Paleo recipe developer. Cheryl is an award-winning healthcare communications professional and obesity health advocate who has overcome super obesity and it’s related diseases. She publishes the website MyBariatricLife.org, and microblogs on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Cheryl is also writing her first book and working on a second website.