Teens spending most and least time on the web have increased health risk

Mar 11, 2011

Young people who spend the most and least time online may have a higher risk of developing certain conditions.

Teenagers who surf the internet the most and the least may have an increased risk for certain health problems, according to a recent study in the Journal of Pediatrics.

Researchers analyzed data from a 2007 health survey with information for 7,000 students, including 2,205 girls and 3,906 boys between the ages of 16 and 20, the journal says. They grouped the participants in four categories based on internet usage, starting with two or more hours of use per day, regular use for less than two hours per day, use once per week or less or no internet use within the past month.

The results showed that all members of the group that spent the most time online where more likely to be depressed, while female members of the group had a higher risk for sleep deprivation and male members had an increased risk of obesity. Teens who used the internet the least had the highest risk of depression, according to researchers.

Though the article suggests parents should encourage internet use, they should set a reasonable limit to prevent children from developing the health problems associated with spending too much time online. Disorders such as obesity do not only lead to life-threatening illnesses, but will also make it difficult to obtain health and life insurance coverage when children become older.  

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