Time spent sitting at a screen matters less if you are fit and strong

May 23, 2018, BioMed Central
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The impact of screen time on cardiovascular disease, cancer incidence and mortality may be greatest in people who have lower levels of grip-strength, fitness and physical activity, according to a study published in the open access journal, BMC Medicine.

Researchers at Glasgow University, UK, found that the amount of leisure time spent watching a television or computer screen had almost double the impact on the risk of mortality, cardiovascular disease and cancer in people with low or low fitness levels than on participants who had the highest levels of fitness and grip strength. Increasing strength and fitness may offset the adverse health consequences of spending a large proportion of sitting down and watching a screen, according to the authors.

Dr. Carlos Celis, corresponding author of the study said: "Our study shows that the risks associated with sedentary behaviour are not the same for everyone; individuals with low physical activity experience the greatest adverse effects. "This has potential implications for public health guidance as it suggests that specifically targeting people with low fitness and strength for interventions to reduce the time they spend sitting down may be an effective approach."

The authors suggest that measuring grip strength could be an efficient way to target individuals that may benefit most from public health interventions to reduce screen time.

Dr. Celis explained: "While fitness testing can be difficult in healthcare and community settings, grip strength is a quick, simple and cheap measure, therefore it would be easy to implement as a screening tool in a variety of settings."

The study analysed data from 391,089 participants from the UK Biobank, a large, prospective, population-based study that includes data on all-cause mortality, and , along with screen time, grip strength, fitness and physical activity.

The researchers caution that the use of self-reported and data may have impacted on the strength of the associations drawn in this study. The observational nature of the study does not allow for conclusions about cause and effect.

Explore further: Easy-to-measure grip strength test could help predict major disease risk

More information: Carlos A. Celis-Morales et al, Associations of discretionary screen time with mortality, cardiovascular disease and cancer are attenuated by strength, fitness and physical activity: findings from the UK Biobank study, BMC Medicine (2018). DOI: 10.1186/s12916-018-1063-1

Related Stories

Easy-to-measure grip strength test could help predict major disease risk

May 8, 2018
Measuring grip strength – a clinical test that is both cheap and easy to perform – could be an important way to identify people who are at high risk for a wide range of diseases.

Physical activity offers greater health benefits to those with naturally low fitness levels

July 7, 2016
The benefits of being physically active are far greater for those who are naturally unfit, according to scientists at The University of Glasgow.

Physical activity helps fight genetic risk of heart disease, study finds

April 9, 2018
Keeping fit, even if you're born with a high genetic risk for heart disease, still works to keep your heart healthy, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Get a grip: What your hand strength says about your marriage prospects and mortality

April 26, 2018
Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the Columbia Aging Center found men with a stronger grip were more likely to be married than men with weaker grips. Grip strength was not a factor in ...

Exercise could outsmart genetics when it comes to heart disease

April 9, 2018
Exercise, especially cardio fitness, could outweigh genetics when it comes to heart disease, according to new research.

Poorer health influences muscle strength in later life

November 16, 2017
Older people with poorer health are more likely to have weaker muscles and experience a decline in muscle strength more quickly than their healthier peers, according to a new study carried out at the University of Southampton.

Recommended for you

Eating breakfast burns more carbs during exercise and accelerates metabolism for next meal

August 15, 2018
Eating breakfast before exercise may "prime" the body to burn carbohydrates during exercise and more rapidly digest food after working out, University of Bath researchers have found.

Mixing energy drinks with alcohol could enhance the negative effects of binge drinking

August 14, 2018
A key ingredient of energy drinks could be exacerbating some of the negative effects of binge drinking according to a new study.

New study finds fake, low-quality medicines prevalent in the developing world

August 10, 2018
A new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that substandard and falsified medicines, including medicines to treat malaria, are a serious problem in much of the world. In low- and middle-income ...

Insurance status tied to higher self-perceived poor/fair health

August 9, 2018
(HealthDay)—Underinsured and never insured adults are more likely than adequately insured adults to report poor/fair health and frequent mental distress (FMD), according to a study published online July 19 in the U.S. Centers ...

Carbon dioxide levels on flight deck affect airline pilot performance

August 8, 2018
Commercial airline pilots were significantly better at performing advanced maneuvers in a flight simulator when carbon dioxide (CO2) levels on the flight deck (cockpit) were 700 parts per million (ppm) and 1500 ppm than when ...

Giving kids plates with segments and pictures caused them to eat more vegetables

August 8, 2018
A pair of researchers at the University of Colorado has found that preschool kids ate more vegetables when presented with segmented plates with pictures of fruits and vegetables on them. In their paper published in JAMA Pediatrics, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.