Children who spend too much time browsing smartphones and tablets are at risk for a lifetime of health issues, including cancer-causing obesity and eyesight problems, according to new studies.
A recent review by the World Cancer Research Fund found “sedentary behaviors” — like staring at an iPhone — are among the contributing causes to excessive weight gain.
The WCRF’s global “Third Expert Report” linked being overweight and obesity to several types of cancer, including bladder, breast, cervical, pancreatic and stomach, saying that physical activity decreases that risk.
“New technologies have encouraged people to increase the time they spend engaging in sedentary behaviors such as sitting in cars and watching television as well as using computers, electronic entertainment and mobile phones,” the report said. “Insufficient levels of physical activity have been linked to a number of health problems including cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, poor bone health and depression.”
The report said 14.1 million people across the globe were diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and 8.2 million died from cancer, but that about 40 percent of cancer cases are preventable.
“This global cancer burden is expected to increase to 21.7 million cases and 13 million deaths by 2030,” it said.
WRCF, a cancer prevention charity based in the UK, also warned that with lack of physical activity comes the likelihood of the “passive overconsumption” of snacks.
It said an estimated 1.97 billion adults and more than 338 million children and adolescents around the world were considered overweight or obese in 2016.
Meanwhile, kids who love playing video games or scrolling on a tablet are at a greater risk for developing “digital myopia,” a separate study by King’s College London found, according to the UK’s Telegraph.
For every hour a child plays video games, their risk for short-sightedness increases by 3 percent.
The number of children suffering from myopia has doubled over the last 50 years, from 7.2 percent to 16.4 percent — and experts are blaming the staggering statistic on too much screen time.