Perhaps it’s no surprise that people who own computers, televisions and cars tend to be less active and may be more vulnerable to obesity-related diseases than people without these possessions. Now, researchers from Simon Fraser University in Canada and more than 20 other institutions around the world have collaborated to determine the level of risk that ownership of certain devices presents.

In a study published by CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association (2014; doi: 10.1503/cmaj.131090), researchers looked at a variety of health measures for 153,996 adults from high-, middle- and low-income countries.

Ownership of a household device increased from low to high income countries and was associated with decreased physical activity and increased sitting, dietary energy intake, body mass index and waist circumference,” stated the authors.

They found that owning a single device raised the risk of obesity and diabetes. Risk level escalated with ownership of a second device; a third device was not associated with a further risk increase. The highest levels of diabetes and obesity were linked with television ownership.

“Ownership of household devices increased the likelihood of obesity and diabetes, and this was mediated in part by effects on physical activity, sitting time and dietary energy intake. With increasing ownership of household devices in developing countries, societal interventions are needed to mitigate their effects on poor health,” the authors concluded.

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

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