Carrots may prevent gamers from getting fat

Yet another study has linked increased screen time with higher body fat in teens. However rather than decrease screen time, some are trying to make it healthier with healthful games.

Tracie A. Barnett, a professor at the Université de Montréal's Department of Social and Preventive Medicine and a scientist at the Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Center, led the five-year study that monitored levels of screen time and varied levels of body fat in 772 Canadian teens.

The authors found a direct correlation with more or less time spent watching television, gaming and hours clocked on the computer and body fat and when the teens decreased their time in front of a screen they dropped kilos.

Barnett concluded in a university announcement on September 20, "Encouraging less screen time, and some form of monitoring to prevent excessive increases in screen time through high school, would be beneficial to teenagers.

"Since most already have firmly established viewing habits at the start of high school, these strategies also need to target kids before they even begin high school."

However there is a trend to change the screen time experience to something more nutrition-based following the success of excergaming.

On September 18 the world's first free carrot-crunch iPhone/iPad game application "Xtreme Xrunch Kart" (XXK) was released. To "unleash unholy speed bursts" you have to "crunch your baby carrots 6 inches [15 cm) from your device's mic." http://www.babycarrots.com/

And in August, US first lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative sparked a smartphone applications competition for healthy apps and games to educate kids and parents about nutrition, the importance of physical activity, calorie information and healthy balanced menu planning. To access the full application gallery, visit: http://www.appsforhealthykids.com/application-gallery

Full study, "Teens and Screens: The Influence of Screen Time on Adiposity in Adolescents" is published in the American Journal of Epidemiology: http://aje.oxfordjournals.org

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