Smartphone Uses Reduces Physical Activity
July 11, 2013

High Use Of Mobile Phones Linked With Poor Fitness

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Excessive mobile phone use, whether talking, surfing the Internet, emailing or playing video games, may disrupt physical activity and reduce cardiorespiratory fitness, Kent State researchers reported on Wednesday.

Researchers Jacob Barkley and Andrew Lepp, faculty members at Kent State's College of Education, Health and Human Services, said they became interested in studying the relationship between smartphones and fitness levels because, unlike televisions, mobile phones are small and portable, making it possible to use them while performing physical activity.

However, their study revealed that despite the smartphone's portability and convenience, the device appears to contribute to a more sedentary lifestyle.

The researchers surveyed more than 300 Midwest college students on their cell phone usage and activity levels, and measured the fitness level and body composition of 49 of the participants.

The results showed students who spent large amounts of time on their cell phones - up to 14 hours per day - were less fit than those who averaged a little more than 90 minutes of cell phone use per day.

"Now that I have switched to the iPhone I would say it definitely decreases my physical activity because before I just had a Blackberry, so I didn't have much stuff on it. But now, if I'm bored, I can just download whatever I want," said one study participant.

The study is believed to be the first to assess the relationship between cell phone use and fitness levels among any population.

The researchers say the findings suggest mobile phone use may be able to assess a person's risk for a multitude of health issues related to a sedentary lifestyle.

The study appears online in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.