February 18, 2014

Cars, Computers, and Influence on Health


carsTelevision is arguably not the greatest thing for your health. But that statement is consistent across all pay grades. Hold on to your clickers, people. Now research says that cars aren’t too good for health, either. However this is more relevant for people of lower income, according to the study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The cumulative effect of driving rather than walking, desk jobs instead of manual labor, and fast food rather than home-cooked meals are adding-up the pound and average blood glucose levels in the population.

The PURE Study was designed to identify these shortcuts and minimize the downside effect it may have on the population. By starting the PURE investigation,  researchers wanted to analyze the effects of modernization and urbanization on populations that have not been over-saturated with such  devices.

In the study, researchers gathered information on people for the following: height and weight, calculated BMI, diet, physical activity, and whether they owned a television, car, and computer.

The results showed that 83% of all households owned a television. In families with a higher income, 97% of homes had a TV. In households with a lower income, 44% had a TV. In addition, about 30% of all households had a car, and 30% had a computer.

With the statistics in-mind, there was a 33% greater risk of obesity and T2D in households with a TV. On the vehicular front, the increased chance of obesity was 15%, compared to households without a car.

Clearly, these devices are linked with spending more time sitting, getting less physical activity, consuming more calories and having a higher BMI. Of interest, poorer households were more closely linked owning a TV or a car and the risk of developing T2D or obesity.

Is this indicative that poorer households eat less healthy foods that possibly could correlate to obesity and T2D? It may be worthwhile considering that the total grocery bill of fresh produce, healthier foods, and nutritious meals are costlier than the dollar menu.

Perhaps this is less about cars and computers and more about the diet that ensues. It would’ve been valuable to know specifically what was in the diets of the “poorer” demographic, compared with higher income households.

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