Article : Children's Screen Time Linked to Diabetes Risk Factors

John D. Cowden, MD, MPH reviewing Nightingale CM et al. Arch Dis Child 2017 Mar 13.

But results must be interpreted with caution due to relatively weak study design.

Screen time has been associated with increased adiposity in children, but its relationship to type 2 diabetes risk factors, such as insulin resistance, is not clear. Researchers evaluated the association between screen time and cardiometabolic disease risk using cross-sectional survey responses and biological data collected in the primary school setting from 4495 children 9 to 10 years old in England.

Self-reported daily screen time options were: none, ≤1 hour, 1 to 2 hours, 2 to 3 hours, and ≥3 hours. Disease risk measures included ponderal index, skinfold thickness, fat mass, blood pressure, and several blood tests (hemoglobin A1C, insulin, glucose, C-reactive protein, leptin, and lipids). Insulin and glucose results were used to calculate insulin resistance.

Compared to children reporting ≤1 hour of screen time per day, those reporting ≥3 hours had higher insulin levels (10.7% difference), insulin resistance (10.5% difference), and measures of adiposity (ponderal index, 1.9% difference; skinfold thickness, 4.5% difference; fat mass index 3.3% difference). Insulin resistance remained significantly associated with increased screen time after adjustment for adiposity.


Nightingale CM et al. Screen time is associated with adiposity and insulin resistance in children. Arch Dis Child 2017 Mar 13; [e-pub].