October 10, 2011

Kids who watch more TV have poorer diabetes control

by

According to a Diabetes Care online study published in September2011 – kids who had more face time with the TV and other media sources had poorer diabetes control.

Obesity,  exercise habits or income level did not explain the correlation between poorer diabetes control in people with Type 1 diabetes who spent more than 4 hours a day in front of a TV or a computer.

The name and intention of this study was, “the associations between media consumption habits. physical activity, socioeconomic status, and glycemic control in children, adolescents, and young adults with Type 1 diabetes”. It’s a provocative thesis on which to base this type of study.

The findings of the study did not prove that screen time, itself, worsened diabetes control in Type 1 diabetes.

The study consisted of 296 young adults, adolescents and children with Type 1 diabetes. Of the total participants – those who spent 4 or more hours per day in front of a television or computer screen had an A1c greater than those who spent less than 4 hours per day in front of a screen. The comparative A1cs were 9.3 vs. 8.5.  

Without going on an all caps rage the conundrum of diabetes control is barbaric, at best. It is recommended that adults keep their A1c below  7. However it is okay for children to have an A1c as high as 8.5. Of course the trade-off of a higher A1c keeps your child’s blood glucose level at a safer distance from devastating lows that could result in a worst case scenario. But the higher A1c may result in complications down the road.

In all fairness the study was lacking in a few areas. Researchers commented that the collection of data was limited in two facets: time of blood glucose collection and daily diet.

Although researchers were not able to discern a reason why media indulgence tainted diabetic control – they hypothesized that people who sat in front of a TV or computer screen were more likely to snack. In other words: blame potato chips not CHiPs. I just inadvertently volunteered my age. I was a weird kid.

Here’s an unsolicited suggestion: become a gamer! Your hands are busy. Your brain is stimulated. If you do snack behind the wheel – it could be a sugar-free energy drink or Diet Mountain Dew. Screen time myth busted!