Screen time has long been up since the start of the global pandemic. While it’s an understandable distraction from life during COVID-19, when it comes to the rest of your health, it is problematic. A new study by scientists at Arizona State University shows that the longer someone stares at a television, phone, or computer screen during the day, the worse their health habits are.
Interestingly, when the researchers break down the screen usage and health behavior of the 1,000 or so study participants, the researchers found that watching TV was linked to the worst eating habits, while smartphone use was most directly correlated to poor sleep. Any screen use has some negative health consequences, says Christopher Wharton, Ph.D., associate professor of nutrition at Arizona State and co-author of the study. However, if you do decide to go into battle, the first thing to do is to limit Netflix binges and turn off your phone an hour before bed. “Different devices make different health behaviors, and we can make more targeted health improvements if we think about using specific devices,” he says.
Getting off your devices while COVID takes discipline. “For those who need to spend more time working in front of screens, like myself, I take every opportunity to step away from them when the work is done,” says Wharton. “I go to play with my children, exercise outdoors, do woodworking projects, and pursue new COVID hobbies – I’m learning to play the violin. All of these add much more value to me personally than watching TV, especially after staring at a screen all day. “
If you want to stand in front of the tube, leave a bowl of fruit on your coffee table and pre-cut carrots and cucumbers in a ziplock bag in your refrigerator so you can pull them out when the game goes on. If you nibble on a whole bowl of fresh vegetables with salsa dip compared to a bowl of chips with sour cream dip, you will save about 2,000 calories.
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