How your child's screen time influences their diet

·1-min read

Children who spend a greater amount of time in front of screens eat less fruit and vegetables and more sweets and fast food, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Malaga in Spain investigated how the amount of time children and adolescents spent looking at screens - computers, mobile phones, televisions, and tablets - adversely affected their eating habits and their adherence to a Mediterranean diet.

The findings showed that a greater amount of screen time is associated with a lower consumption of fruit, vegetables, legumes, fish and nuts - the foundations of the Mediterranean diet - and a greater consumption of sweets, candy, and fast food.

They also discovered evidence to further support the assertion that a child's parents' education level affects their eating habits, with a lower education level being associated with worse lifestyles and poorer diets among youngsters as well as little knowledge of nutrition.

"The Mediterranean diet is one of the most complete, balanced and healthy diets, as it prevents obesity and represents a life assurance against cardiovascular diseases", said Julia Wärnberg, researcher of the University of Malaga, nutrition expert, and main author of the study.

The researchers insist that it's important to promote this diet and encourage children and adolescents to follow it as it will help maintain good eating habits, reduce the probability of childhood and adolescent obesity and enhance their health in adulthood.

The research is part of the PASOS Study - Physical Activity, Sedentarism, lifestyles and Obesity in Spanish youth - which analysed more than 3,800 children aged between eight to 16 years old from more than 200 schools across Spain.

The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine.