Research

Screen time is bad – unless you stay active

23 Aug 2018 By Maggie Baska

But researchers warned the risks of sedentary behaviour aren't the same for everyone

The impact on health of staring at a computer screen may be greater for people who have low levels of physical activity – a finding which could have implications 
for our understanding of workplace health and safety. 

University of Glasgow research found that spending a lot of time in front of a screen doubled the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer and death in people with low fitness levels.

The study, which analysed data from 391,089 participants from the UK Biobank, found that people who had low levels of physical activity and high amounts of screen time were more likely to suffer from chronic diseases. 

Dr Carlos Celis-Morales, co-author and research associate at the University of Glasgow, said it showed the risks associated with sedentary behaviour “are not the same for everyone”. 

“This has potential implications for public health guidance as it suggests that specifically targeting people with low fitness to reduce the time they spend sitting down may be effective,” he said.

Naveed Sattar, co-author and professor of cardiovascular and medical sciences at the University of Glasgow, told People Management that staring at a screen is not bad if workers remain active. 

“My suggestion to folk is to increase their step count and measure what they do using their phones. That is a realistic aim for many,” he said.

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