A recent study has reported that excessive internet use may not be as big a factor on the risk of being overweight as previously reported. The study found that the risk of being overweight is mostly influenced by weight status at baseline and internet use could at most reinforce an already existing risk of being overweight.
The longitudinal study followed a group of 621 Swedish adolescents from age 14 to 16 to gather data on their height and weight, how much time they spent online and how much time they devoted to exercise, as well as their eating habits, among other things. They found that the adolescents who were overweight at the start of the study were 20 times more likely to be overweight two years later than their peers who began at a healthy weight.
Overweight adolescents were significantly more likely to be male, to live in an urban area, to be on a diet and to report using the internet more than 2 hours per day on weekends. However, with the addition of baseline overweight, only the excessive use of internet on weekends remained as an explanatory variable. Moreover, the 2-year evolution showed a net BMI increase of 4.8% and for those who became overweight, excessive Internet didn’t show any significant effect.