Mobile device

Excessive use of mobile devices linked to higher BMI and other adverse health effects



Gupta N. RF12 | PSUN103. Presented at: ENDO Annual Meeting; June 11-14, 2022; Atlanta (hybrid meeting).

Disclosures: Gupta reports being the founder and director of Phreedom.

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ATLANTA – People who spend more time per day using wireless mobile devices are more likely to have higher BMIs, lower quality sleep and other adverse health effects, according to a presenter at ENDO 2022 .

In the results of a literature review, every hour per day of increased mobile screen time was associated with an increase in BMI, and excessive device use was linked to insufficient sleep, increased daytime fatigue, drowsiness and depression. Adverse health effects are forcing people to use strategies to reduce the use of their mobile devices, according to Nidhi Gupta, MDfounder and director of KAP Pediatric Endocrinology in Franklin, Tennessee.

Tips to Reduce Screen Time on Wireless Mobile Devices
Adults can reduce screen time on mobile devices by disabling non-essential notifications and being mindful of mobile device usage. Infographic content is derived from Gupta N. RF12 | PSUN103. Presented at: ENDO Annual Meeting; June 11-14, 2022; Atlanta (hybrid meeting).

“We’re not asking to throw the devices out the window,” Gupta told a news conference. “We advocate moderation, balance and engagement in real life. We must try to find joy in our offline life so that the joy of online life is not as strong as a desire to avoid the joy of offline life.

Nidhi Gupta

Gupta searched the PubMed and MEDLINE databases for studies referring to smartphone, screen time and phone addiction up to May 2021. The search was conducted as part of a population-based education initiative, Freedom from smartPhone (Phreedom). There were 655 initial citations found, of which 234 were included in the study.

Addiction to wireless mobile devices is related to the incentive awareness theory of addiction. Users receive a signal, such as a notification or a message on a locked screen, or start using their device when they feel bored, frustrated, or complete a tedious task. The notification causes a release of dopamine which leads to compulsive behavior in which a user constantly looks towards their device as an escape or distraction. The user reaches for the device, checks email, social media or performs some other task, and feels good about satisfying their craving, according to Gupta.

“The more often we go through this trigger loop of wireless mobile devices, the stronger it gets,” Gupta said. “Every time our brain experiences this feeling of reward, we are looking for the next cue. Whenever there is a cue, we are looking for the next reward.

Overuse of wireless mobile devices can have several adverse health effects. According to the study, each hour per day of increased screen time is associated with an increase of 0.05 kg/m2 at 0.07 kg/m2 increased BMI (P

“The most important factor that seems very logical and obvious is the increase in sedentary time, due to the time we spend on our devices,” Gupta said. “But there is more than that. We have a limited number of discretionary hours in any given day. An excessive amount of screen time can only displace some other essential activities from those discretionary hours.

Excessive screen time is also associated with other adverse health effects, such as the use of illegal substances. People who are younger at the age of initial exposure to mobile devices and those who are exposed to devices for a longer duration have a higher risk of adverse health effects.

Gupta said several strategies can be implemented to reduce screen time on mobile devices. She said people should turn off all non-essential notifications; be aware of irrational urge and specific time to check emails and social media; make the mobile device hard to reach by putting it in a drawer, zippered pocket, or using a complicated password to open it; and make the device boring and unattractive by deleting the social media app or using a timer blocker.