iPhone = iFat

While it is a foregone conclusion that video games contribute to couch-potato behavior, apparently the Xbox isn't the only technological advancement that can negatively affect the fitness of young people. Smartphones also encourage sedentary behavior. Offering a host of functions similar to that of a desktop computer, smartphones allow interaction with social networks and give users the ability to text, surf the web, play games, and watch videos and live events. Sadly, all of these activities are sedentary.

According to a recent study examining college students, frequent use of smartphones may have a significant impact on physical fitness. It was determined that on average, students spend nearly five hours per day on smartphones, either texting, calling or surfing the web. The study points out, "While cell phones provide many of the same temptations as television and Internet connected computers, the difference is that cell phones fit in our pockets and purses and are with us wherever we go. Thus, they provide an ever-present invitation to 'sit and play".

TIP: Maintain your health by being active and taking green supplements. 

Over 300 college students were interviewed over the course of the study to determine amounts of leisure and physical activity and frequency of cell phone use. Students with an average use of 90 minutes per day were regarded as light users. Those with an average use of five hours per day were deemed moderate users, and students with an average use of over five hours per day up to 14 hours daily were considered heavy users.

After the interview process, 49 of the students were randomly chosen for treadmill testing. The students were asked to run to exhaustion, and researchers examined cardio-respiratory fitness and measured body fat. The study showed that students with heavy cell phone use were more inclined to sedentary behavior than students with light cell phone use. The heavy users also showed significantly lower levels of cardio-respiratory fitness than light users.

In addition to encouraging sedentary behavior, experts have speculated more ways in which heavy smartphone use can affect the health:

  • Similar to the television, heavy cell phone use may lead to mindless eating which can contribute to obesity and a number of other health problems caused by excess body weight.
  • Cell phone use can have a detrimental effect on sleep.Researchers from this study pointed out that some students have been known to "sleep text," which means that texts are sent while asleep and not remembered upon awakening. Studies have also shown that use of electronic devices stimulates activity in the brain, impacting the ability to get to sleep. Also, researchers are proving that artificial light from smartphones and other devices might disrupt chemicals in the brain that encourage sleep.

While this is cause for concern, the study results can't prove that smartphones are causing lower levels of fitness. "It's possible that less fit people use their cell phones more," the lead researcher stated. Also, heavy users of cell phones may naturally be attracted to other forms of digital entertainment, like movies, television and video games, which are also sedentary activities.

To encourage an active lifestyle, many experts suggest more careful monitoring of personal cell phone use It is especially important to limit use during periods of activity like walking or going to the park or to the gym, as cell phones have a tendency to slow people down. Also, because there is nothing more important to the health than a good night's sleep, parents may want to limit use by children, especially before bedtime.

Finally, it's important to take the necessary steps to ensure you're getting all the vitamins and nutrients you need each day. A proper diet boosts the immune system and may ultimately extend the years in your life! All-natural health supplements like multi-vitamins and green supplements are a great way to maintain a healthy diet. 

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