Published: Aug 09, 2013 9:52 AM EDT
Updated: Aug 09, 2013 10:09 AM EDT

(FORT MYERS Fla.)--

Your Smartphone May Be Making You Fat
Sure, fitness apps are great, and your phone's tunes can get you pumped come treadmill
time, but the more time you spend on a mobile device a day, the less you spend breaking a sweat.
Smartphones are as good if not better than an Internet-connected computer. Virtually anywhere
and always, users can not only make calls and send texts and emails, but they can interact with
Twitter, Google, YouTube, and play games. All these activities are essentially sedentary!
This Kent State University study found that students spend an average of almost five hours on
their cell phones and send hundreds of text messages every day! How much time do you spend
on your cell phone a day? Smart phones have enormous capacity to significantly change people's
lifestyles and health habits. A study like this raises the importance of how this technology affects
how we move, eat and sleep. We have to look at the impact of technology on our health.
The New "TV"
Using a cell phone doesn't have the same kind of negative stigma that sitting on the couch and
watching TV has, but it can be just as bad for you. Unlike a TV, however, smart phones are
always on hand providing a constant invitation to sit and play.
Fast Phones Slow You Down
Despite the fact that cell phones are mobile devices, they slow people down. Texting while you
walk causes you to walk more slowly, trying to do two things at once. Walking past a beautiful
scene, you halt and take a photo, and then send it to your friends on Facebook. Before you know
it you've gotten sucked in playing on your phone.
Time Stealer
You wake up in the morning, all fired up to go to the gym, but then your phone buzzs before you
even get out of bed. It turns out to be your co-worker texting juicy gossip. You have to respond,
back and forth for about 10 minutes. And since your phone was in hand, it only made sense to
check  Facebook and to see what else was going on in the world, which led you to a friend's
Instagram profile,  then pinterest, twitter, etc. Suddenly, those 40 minutes you had dedicated to
going to the gym had been eaten up by all those little apps on your smart phone.
Affects How You Eat
Heavy cell phone use can create mindless eating, much as television does. Also, if you hjave
your cell phone out while you are eating lunch or dinner with someone else, not only are you
being extremely rude, but you are probably not paying enough attention to what you are putting
into your body or knowing when you are full.
Affects Your Sleeping
Cell phone use can also affect sleep. Notification alerts or alarms aside, when the eyes are
exposed to too much bright light at the "wrong" time of day, which is the case when you've got a
screen six inches from your face late at night, it interferes with the part of the brain that regulates
your body clock, or circadian rhythms. So while it may feel cozy to get caught up on Instagram
as you snuggle in, prolonged viewing can cut into your sleep or make it difficult to fall asleep at
all.
Worse, some experts theorize that late-night tech time may also be to blame for those
impossible-to-lose 10 pounds. Research has found a link between sleep loss and weight gain.
All Ages are Affected
While this study focused on college students who were about 20 years of age, many of today's
elementary school students are just as tethered to smart phones. This is probably affecting
physical activity in younger kids now. Parents should monitor not just what their children are
doing on their smart phones, but how frequently they are using them.
If they're interrupting physical activity by using their phones, people should take time from
their cellular technology for a better quality of life. But now, if I'm bored, I can just download
whatever I want. I really cannot get bored using it. Before I would always get bored and I would
have to find something else to do and that would involve like going somewhere or playing sports
or doing something.
Your move:
Limit your daily cell phone usage to as close to an hour and a half as you can. One tactic is to
block out a small chunk of time each day for you to catch up on whatever it is that sucks you in,
be it Words with Friends plays or Facebook stalking. That way, you can keep track of how much
time you spend on your phone, and you won't stop what you're doing to check your notifications
every 15 minutes.