New Delhi: Diabetes is considered to be a silent killer by medical professionals across the world. Even a single symptom reflecting the onset of the disease is a cause for concern.
Often considered to be an age-related ailment victimizing people above 65 years-old, diabetes has begun to rise among children as well, with a number of cases being reported around the globe.
The causes of type-2 diabetes among children normally consist of unhealthy eating habits, lack of physical activity, family history, or other medical conditions.
Now, experts, by way of a study, have added another problem to the list of causes that may increase the risk of childhood diabetes.
The study warns that, children who spend more than three hours staring at smartphone, computer or TV screens have a raised risk of type-2 diabetes.
The study, published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, linked increased levels of body fat and insulin resistance in children to regular extended periods of screen time.
As per The Verge, researchers in the UK analyzed data from nearly 4,500 children, and found that those who spent more time glued to the screen had biological markers known to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
These kids showed signs that their bodies weren't as good at processing sugar, a condition known as insulin resistance — the hallmark of diabetes.
The kids were also asked about their daily screen time, including TV, computers and game consoles.
According to the Express UK, only four percent of the kids said they never spent any time staring at screens, while just over a third (37 percent) said they spent an hour or less on it.
And just over a quarter (28 per cent) said they clocked up 1-2 hours, while 13 percent said their daily tally was 2-3 hours.
Meanwhile, one in five (18 percent) said they spent more than three hours in front of screens each days.
The study also revealed that revealed a fifth of boys (22 percent) spend more than three hours of day on screen time.
This compared to only 14 percent of girls spending the same amount of time in front of screens.
Also spending more than three hours were 23 percent of African-Caribbean kids compared with their white European (16 percent) or South Asian peers (16 percent).
The Independent UK reported that the scientists said their findings were of “considerable potential public health interest” but emphasised further research was needed to prove the link between diabetes risk and screen time.
“This is particularly relevant, given rising levels of type 2 diabetes, the early emergence of type 2 diabetes risk, and recent trends suggesting that screen time related activities are increasing in childhood and may pattern screen-related behaviours in later life,” they said.
Previous studies have shown adults who spend long periods of time glued to screens have an increased risk of gaining weight and developing type 2 diabetes, however, a possible association in children still needs more research.
The researchers said the link between diabetes risk factors and screen time was seen even when potentially influential factors such as household income, family background, physical activity levels and puberty stage were taken into account.