Excessive preoccupation with screen time may increase the risk of binge-eating disorder in young children

Excessive preoccupation with screen time or social media use in early childhood may result in a higher likelihood of developing binge-eating disorder later in life, new research in the International Journal of Eating Disorders found.

Headed by the University of Toronto, the study involved the data of more than 11,000 American children between the ages of 9 and 11. Participating in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development, the data was gathered from 2016 through 2019.

Researchers examined the use of television, social media, and mobile text messages, through a series of questions asked.

“Children may be more prone to overeating while distracted in front of screens. They may also be exposed to more food advertisements on television. Binge-watching television may lead to binge-eating behaviors because of overconsumption and a loss of control,” according to Jason Nagata, the study’s lead author.

“This study emphasizes the need for more research on how screen time impacts the well-being of young people now and in the future,” said another co-author in a news release.

Given the findings, health professionals should increase attention on screen time usage and binge eating among children, with the advisement of parents of potential risks with its excessive use.

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