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'Screen time' may worsen diabetes in kids

[ 2011-10-12 13:49]     字号 [] [] []  
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Kids with type 1 diabetes who spend hours in front of a TV or computer each day may have poorer blood sugar control, a new study suggests.

It's not clear why the relationship exists, and the findings do not prove that "screen time" itself worsens kids' diabetes control.

But factors like obesity, exercise habits and family income did not explain the connection, the study found.

Among 296 children, teens and young adults with type 1 diabetes, those who spent four or more hours per day in front of a TV or computer had higher hemoglobin A1C levels – a measure of blood sugar control -- over the past few months.

On average, their hemoglobin A1C was 9.3 percent, compared with about 8.5 percent among their peers who spent less time in front of a screen.

Experts recommend that adults keep their A1C levels below 7 percent, while levels in children and teens can go as high as 8.5 percent, depending on their age.

The goal of reining in blood sugar is to help curb the risk of long-term diabetes complications -which range from heart and kidney disease, to nerve damage and vision loss.

Exactly why screen time was connected to blood sugar control in this study is not clear, according to the researchers, led by Dr Angela Galler of Berlin, Germany.

One possibility, they say, is that kids who spend more time in front of the TV or computer snack more often. So it may be more difficult to control their blood sugar than when they stick with more-regular meals.

People with type 1 diabetes have to inject insulin every day, generally timed around meals, to control their blood sugar levels.

But while snacking could be a culprit, this study cannot really prove that screen time is at all to blame for the poorer blood sugar control, according to Dr Sanjeev Mehta, a diabetes specialist who was not involved in the research.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

'Screen time' may worsen diabetes in kids

About the broadcaster:

'Screen time' may worsen diabetes in kids

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.