Childhood Obesity and Technology

Literature Review My Chosen Topic: Technology and How its Affects Obesity in Young People What Is Technology? Technology is the process by which humans modify nature to meet their needs and wants. Technology is a broad term that refers both to artefacts created by humans, such as machines, and the methods used to create those artefacts. More broadly, technology can be used to refer to a way of doing something or a means of organization. Technology comes from the Greek technologia, which is a combination of “techne”, meaning “craft”, and logia, and meaning “saying.

When the word “technology” is used today, it is most often used to refer to high technology (computers, cell phones, rockets and TV’s) rather than technology in general (The invention of fire and the invention of the wheel). The first technological tools were simple hand-axes made by our ancestors millions of years ago. The earliest technological divisions are from mankind’s early history, divided into the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age depending on the primary tool and weapon-making material at the time. Each building material is superior to the one before it.

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Since the formulation of the scientific method, technological progress has apparently been accelerating. Some technologies developed since then include the telescope, the microscope, the clock, the engine, the electric generator and electric motor, radio, nuclear power and weapons, television, computer, and many others. Technological development continues strongly today, fuelled by the multibillion-dollar economies of the world’s most prosperous nations. The hottest developments in technology today are happening in computers, nanotechnology, materials science, renewable energy, entertainment, space travel, and medicine.

What Is Obesity? Obesity and overweight have in the last decade become a global problem – according to the World Health Organization (WHO) back in 2005 approximately 1. 6 billion adults over the of age 15+ were overweight, at least 400 million adults were obese and at least 20 million children under the age of 5 years were overweight. Obesity is a concern because of its implications for the health of an individual as it increases the risk of many diseases and health conditions including: – •Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon) •Hypertension (high blood pressure) Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides) •Liver and Gallbladder disease •Sleep apnoea and respiratory problems •Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint) and Gynaecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility). •Cardiovascular disease – mainly heart disease and stroke – is already the world’s number one cause of death, killing 17 million people each year and diabetes has rapidly become a global epidemic – according to WHO projections diabetes deaths will increase by more than 50% worldwide in the next 10 years.

Less common health conditions associated with increased weight include asthma, hepatic steatosis and sleep apnoea. Overweight and obesity are defined by the WHO as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to an individual’s health. Overweight and obesity are major risk factors for a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer and while it was once an issue only in high income countries, overweight and obesity has now dramatically risen in low and middle income countries.

The basic cause of obesity and overweight is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended. Whether you want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, the connection between the energy the body takes in, through the food and drink consumed and the energy the body uses through the activities, must be taken into consideration. Overweight and obesity are the result of an energy imbalance where too many calories are eaten and not enough physical activity takes place. Maintaining a healthy weight for a lifetime involves balancing the number of calories consumed with the number of calories the body uses or “burns off. A crude population measure of obesity is the body mass index (BMI) which is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used in classifying overweight and obesity in adult populations and individuals.

BMI provides the most useful population level measure of overweight and obesity as it is the same for both sexes and for all ages of adults but it is merely a rough guide because it may not correspond to the same degree of fatness in different individuals. The WHO defines an adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29. 9 as overweight – an adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese – a BMI below 18. is considered underweight, and between 18. 5 to 24. 9 a healthy weight . Measuring overweight and obesity in children aged 5 to 14 years is challenging, the WHO Child Growth Standards includes BMI charts for infants and young children up to age 5, childhood obesity is associated with a higher chance of premature death and disability in adulthood. BMI ranges for children and teens are defined so that they take into account normal differences in body fat between boys and girls and differences in body fat at various ages.

However although BMI correlates with the amount of body fat, BMI does not directly measure body fat and some people, such as athletes, may have a BMI that identifies them as overweight even though they do not have excess body fat. Other methods of estimating body fat and body fat distribution include measurements of skin fold thickness and waist circumference, calculation of waist-to-hip circumference ratios, and techniques such as ultrasound, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Susanna Kautiainen Introduction-

Adolescence represents a sensitive period in the development of obesity, and obesity in adolescence is known to track into adulthood, and be associated with several health problems. The origin of obesity is complex and influenced by genetic and environmental factors. As the prevalence of childhood and adolescence obesity has increased in most parts of the world. The increased use of information and communication technology, particularly television, digital games and computers. In simple terms, obesity results from an imbalance between the intake and the expenditure of energy.

There are several mechanisms to explain how information and communication technology can influence this imbalance. Viewing television, using computer and playing digital games are mainly low-energy activities. In addition, they compete for the same time resource as physical activity and other non sedentary activities. Several earlier studies have demonstrated that television viewing is associated with childhood and adolescent obesity. However, not all studies to date have noted the same relationship. Aim-

Our aim was to study whether the time spent on viewing television, playing digital games and using computer is associated with overweight and obesity among 14-y-old to 18-y-old Finnish boys and girls. This study makes a contribution to the obesity literature in examining the association of playing digital games and overweight separately from viewing television, and a unique contribution in exploring the relationship between computer use and overweight. Method- The data was collected as part of a nationwide monitoring system of adolescent health and health behaviours.

Self-administered questionnaires were mailed in February 2001 to nationally representative samples of 14-, 16-, and 18-y-old Finnish people. The number of respondents was 6515, and the response rate 70%. The response rate decreased with age, especially among boys. The adolescents were asked to fill in the questionnaire, their height in centimetres and weight in kilograms. The body mass index (BMI) for each adolescent was calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by the square of height in meters (kg/m2).

The adolescents were also asked about the average times per day that they spend on viewing television, playing digital games, and using computer. The alternatives for the response were ‘not at all’, ‘occasionally’, ‘less than an hour’. Throughout the remainder of this report, information and communication technology refers to television, digital games and computer together (ICT). Intensity of weekly physical activity was formed by combining the information obtained from the variables measuring the frequency of organized (by sports clubs) and unorganized (other leisure time) physical activity, and the perceived intensity of physical activity.

Low intensity of weekly physical activity represents light or no exercise, middle intensity occasional vigorous exercise and high intensity vigorous or very active vigorous exercise. Results- Of the adolescents, 14. 5% were overweight and 2. 7% obese. The prevalence of overweight was higher in boys than in girls in all age groups, as was the prevalence of obesity among 14-y-olds and 16-y-olds. The differences in overweight or obesity by age were not statistically significant in either sex. The time spent on viewing television was similar in boys and girls, whereas boys spent more time playing games and using computer than girls.

At age 14? y, both boys and girls spent somewhat more time on television viewing than in the older age groups. The time spent on playing games differed by age in both sexes. The pattern of the time spent on using computer by age was more varying, compared to times spent on the other modalities of ICT. Times spent on viewing television, playing games and using computer were all positively associated with each other, although the association between time spent on viewing television and time spent on using computer was not statistically significant in boys. Of all adolescents, 17. % responded spending daily less than 1? h on any one form of ICT. Only 0. 2% of adolescents responded spending 4? h or more on each and every modality. Conclusion The study indicated that overweight was associated with using ICT, but only with certain forms of ICT: the increased time spent on viewing television or using computer was positively associated with being overweight. As this result was, however, generally observable only among girls. Further, the increased use of ICT might thus be one factor explaining the secular trend in the prevalence of overweight and obesity, at least in girls.

The time spent on playing digital games, on the other hand, was not statistically associated with overweight in the study. Indeed, in respect of overweight in adolescence, playing games might be both quantitatively and qualitatively different from television viewing. With the development of new digital games necessitating a higher physical activity from players (eg games using mats or connected to cameras, played by dancing and other body movements), we may be entering a new era where replacing television time with interactive (more active) media might be favorable concerning obesity.

Nicolas Stettler Introduction- Childhood obesity is becoming an increasing public health problem in several high-income countries, including the United States, Switzerland, and Britain. Because obesity is refractory to treatment once it is established, obesity prevention during childhood is essential because childhood obesity requires the identification of modifiable risk factors. Several environmental factors have been associated with obesity among U. S. hildren: watching television, low physical activity, lower socioeconomic status in white adolescents, consumption of sugar-containing beverages, skipping breakfast, and unstructured meals. Although television watching has been repeatedly associated with childhood obesity, it is unclear whether other sedentary activities, such as use of electronic games, are independently associated with obesity in children. The aim of this study was to identify environmental and behavioral factors, in particular type and duration of sedentary activities, associated with obesity in children living in Switzerland.

Aim- For this study, a convenience sample of 10 schools was chosen from four communities of the Greater Zurich area in the German-speaking Northeastern Switzerland: Hombrechtikon, Mannedorf, Oetwil-am-See, and Winterthur. All communities are located in a suburban area 20 km from downtown Zurich and include populations of heterogeneous socioeconomic status. All 872 children in grades one to three of primary school in 1999 were eligible for the study, and informed consent was sought from the parents.

Weight was measured in light clothing without shoes using a medical scale. Height was measured without shoes using a stadiometer fixed to a wall. All measurements were performed before noon. Children were not in the fasting state. Triceps and subscapular skinfold thicknesses were measured using a Holtain Caliper according to standard procedures three times consecutively for each child, and the average of these three measurements was used for the analyses. The skinfold thicknesses were measured by a single investigator in all subjects.

Questionnaires were administered to the children using structured interview by a physician or by a medical assistant to assess age, sex, nationality, number of siblings, smoking status of parents, professional situation of parents, television programs regularly watched, amount of time playing electronic games, breakfast consumption, watching television during meals, and snacking while watching television. To assess the amount of time watching television, the programs regularly watched were recalled by the children as part of the answers to the questionnaire and recorded by the interviewer.

To avoid interviewer’s bias, no specific prompting was made. The total duration of all programs regularly watched by the child during weekdays was then calculated. Television use during weekends was not assessed. Usual amount of physical activity was estimated by the teacher. Results- There was a small but statistically significant positive correlation between television and electronic game use and a significant negative correlation between physical activity and television use but not electronic game use.

The children from foreign nationality were more likely to be obese than Swiss nationals, we compared the characteristics of the two groups in a post hoc analysis. Foreign children were watching more television than were Swiss children, had less physical activity, were more likely to have parents of a lower work category, and were more likely to have a father who smoked. They were, however, not different from Swiss children in use of electronic games, in having a mother working outside of the home, or in having a mother who smoked. Conclusion-

In conclusion, in this sample of children living in Switzerland, obesity was independently associated with use of electronic games and television and was negatively associated with physical activity. These results suggest possible intervention strategies to prevent the development of obesity and its complications in European children. If such prevention strategies are tested and implemented in time, Switzerland and similar European countries may be able to avoid some of the consequences of the global forces that create a “toxic environment” leading to the childhood obesity epidemic already experienced in the U.

S. My Conclusion As shown in Stettler and Kautiainen’s work technology is increasing obesity in young people. The results show that technology has a link with obesity. Adolescences have become less active and would rather sit down and watch TV, use the computer, play a gaming console or use their I-pod/phone. If technology is used too much without exercise obesity can occur in young people.

Bibliography •What is technology? ’. [Online]. Available at viewed 30 November 2010. •What is obesity?. Online] Available at viewed 30 November 2010. •Causes of obesity and overweight. [Online] Available at viewed 30 November 2010. •Kautiainen, Susanna ‘Use of information and communication technology and prevalence of overweight and obesity among adolescents’. [Online]. Available at viewed 2 December 2010. •william, ‘Overweight Children and Adolescents. ’. [Online]. Available at viewed 2 December 2010. •Stettler, Nicolas Obesity. [Online] Available at viewed 2 December 2010.

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