Obesity today concerns almost the entire planet, including many emerging countries. In France, the first results of the Constances cohort, supported by Inserm and the National Health Insurance Fund for Salaried Workers (Cnamts), revealed in 2016 that the prevalence of overweight was 41.0% and 25.3%, respectively, in males and females, and the overall obesity prevalence was 15.8% for males and 15.6% for females. “The excess weight concerns nearly half of the population in France. These data confirm the importance of this nutritional pathology in terms of public health, ”the researchers concluded.
Because people in overweight and obese situation‘expose to multiple consequences: type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, excess lipids in the blood (dyslipidemia), cardiovascular disorders, sleep apnea syndrome, joint diseases such as osteoarthritis and several types of cancer. On the occasion of the European Obesity Days (May 17), a team of researchers * detailed for the site The Conversation the Liens between screens (smartphone, television, tablet, game consoles, social networks, Internet, etc.) and weight gain through four well-highlighted mechanisms. Because the latter have become ubiquitous, both in adults and children.
Screens and snacking
Excessive use of screens can have a direct effect on the way you eat. Starting with a bad habit to ban: snacking. If this can be encouraged by inconsistent menus, stress, or boredom, screens are particularly involved. Sweets, cakes, fast food, sugary drinks, salty snacks … so many products of poor nutritional quality consumed without even feeling a feeling of hunger. Not only do screen users remain inactive for a long period of time, but they also store too much energy.
Screens also have a bad influence on the way we eat at lunch and dinner. Because of the images and sounds, the brain is not focused on the act of eating in itself and the sensations that arise from it, especially satiety which is no longer perceived in time when it occurs. “Consequence: the quantities ingested increase on average by 25%!” One solution to remedy this situation would be to direct your attention better. on the act of eating. Do it slowly, in full awareness, in a user-friendly way and without a screen ”, explain the researchers.
Screens and a sedentary lifestyle
A sedentary lifestyle is in itself a public health problem, in particular the cause of cardiovascular disease. However, the more screens are used, the more it increases. And a vicious circle sets in the sedentary lifestyle causes weight gain, a situation to the detriment of regular physical activity. The researchers nevertheless specify that the question is not completely decided. “If there is a negative correlation between exposure to screens and the practice of moderate or vigorous physical activities, the causal link is not yet clearly established,” they indicate.
However, it is accepted that a distinction must be made between a sedentary lifestyle and physical activity and that it is necessary to act on both. This is why the World Health Organization recommends practicing 30 minutes of physical exercise moderate intensity five days a week to stay in shape. For example, it is recommended to walk a few minutes after spending two hours sitting and to focus on simple actions such as taking the stairs as often as possible, getting to work by bicycle or getting off the bus two stops before your final destination to walk the rest. of the journey.
Screens and bad publicity
Children and adolescents who are avid screen enthusiasts are more exposed to food advertising therefore to marketing, recognized as having an impact on nutritional preferences. However, many advertisements concern poor quality food and drink. In 2017, an Inserm team recommended limiting their effects by banning advertisements for certain food products during the time slots viewed by a large number of children. The group also recommended banning the use of techniques such as the use of brand spokespersons (athlete, singer).
“What is more, it would seem that an advertisement for the products of a given brand increases demand for the entire category of food or drink concerned,” the researchers point out. In addition to traditional marketing, children can be influenced by digital marketing (advertising on the Internet, mobile phones and social networks, advertising video games, insertion of brands in a video game …) and even neuromarketing, either at a little or not conscious level. Against this problem, the researchers recommend making the display of the Nutri-score logo mandatory.
Screens and lack of sleep
Difficulty falling asleep, insomnia, nocturnal awakenings, a feeling of non-recovering sleep … Screens directly impact sleep for two reasons. Firstly, the fact that an exhibition at rich blue light emitted by light-emitting diodes (LEDs), of which the screens of computers, smartphones, and tablets are important sources, at night disrupts biological rhythms. This is interpreted by the brain as being daylight, which delays the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone) and therefore sleeps.
Second, the researchers cite the impact of “the excitement of the videos or messages viewed at night. For example, when people are emotionally invested in social media. ” The FOMO term (fear of missing out), this fear of missing interesting content has even emerged. However, it is known that poor sleep promotes overweight but also a poor ability to concentrate and memorize during the day. It is, therefore, better to respect two essential rules: disconnect from the screens one to two hours before going to bed and ban them from the bedroom.