By Kiwiana Ngabung – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
Research carried out by a team from the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, USA suggests that teenagers who spend hours on end using the Internet are at risk of getting high blood pressure and putting on unhealthy amounts of weight.
Researchers found that teens that spent at least 14 hours a week on the Internet had elevated blood pressure.
The study was aimed at observing the association of high blood pressure and the amount of time spent using the Internet, on adolescents in the United States.
Data was analysed from 335 teenagers (ages 14-17). They completed a 55-question survey on their use of Internet during the week, and after took a physical exam for blood pressure reading.
The study’s lead author, Dr. Andrea Cassidy-Bushrow from the Henry Ford Hospital, says “In our study, teens considered heavy Internet users were on the Internet an average of 25 hours a week.
“It’s important that young people take regular breaks from their computer or smartphone, and engage in some form of physical activity. I recommend to parents they limit their children’s’ time at home on the Internet. I think two hours a day, five days a week is good rule of thumb.”
For the study, Internet usage was defined by researchers as creating/maintaining webpages, doing homework, downloading software, emailing, instant messaging, playing games, shopping and visiting web sites.
“The Internet is definitely a part of our daily lives, we need to use it. But we need to make sure that we’re aware of how much we’re using the internet and try to keep it at a moderate level,” said Dr Cassidy-Bushrow.
School nurses are urged to monitor the health of students, conducting annual health screenings where Internet use and blood pressure is assessed, and parents are to limit their children’s internet use.