New research shows your phone could be making you fat

The study found a link between smartphones and obesity.
The study found a link between smartphones and obesity. Photo credit: Getty

People should be improving habits and healthy behaviours instead of spending time on their phones, a rehabilitation specialist says.

A recent study by the American College of Cardiology has found a link between obesity and people who use their smartphone for five or more hours each day.

This is because it leads to a decrease in physical activity, according to researchers.

"It is important that the general population know and be aware that, although mobile technology is undoubtedly attractive for its multiple purposes, portability, comfort, access to countless services, it should also be used to improve habits and healthy behaviours," said rehabilitation specialist and study lead author Mirary Mantilla-Morrón of Colombia's Simón Bolívar University.

Spending too much time in front of your smartphone is also believed to increase the risk of premature death.

"Spending too much time in front of the smartphone facilitates sedentary behaviours, reduces the time of physical activity, which increases the risk of premature death, diabetes, heart disease, different types of cancer, osteoarticular discomfort and musculoskeletal symptoms," she said.

The 360 men who participated in the study were 36.1 percent likely to be overweight and 42.6 percent likely to be obese, while the 700 women were 63.9 percent likely to be overweight and 57.4 percent likely to be obese.

"The results of this study allow us to highlight one of the main causes of physical obesity, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

"We have also determined the amount of time a person is exposed to the use of technologies - specifically prolonged cell phone use - is associated with the development of obesity."

The findings were presented at the recent American College of Cardiology Latin America Conference.