Recreation and Sport Studies

Studying, Experiencing and Facilitating Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport through Wellness and Physical Activity


Technology’s influence on childhood obesity

Jamie Buote and Desiray Wells

Technology is more advanced than it ever has been before as we have witnessed growing up. Technology can have a very positive influence on our society as a whole but also can have a very negative impact on society if not used in moderation.

Technology can indeed affect one’s lifestyle and health. It seems like the facts are all there but parents are negligent when it comes to reducing the amount of screen time their children watch per day. From the ages five to seventeen one third of Canadians are obese. If we look at the statistics globally there is an estimated 43 million children under the age of 5 who were diagnosed with obesity in 2010. This large number is a 60 percent increase since 1990.

So what are children doing different these days than in the past? Well according the American Academy of Pediatrics children and adolescents can spend up to 7 hours of TV, internet usage and video games per day. But the recommended time for this is only 1-2 hours of screen time a day! This is a huge difference. All these extra hours of screen time is taking away from quality family time, reading, homework and exercise.


With obesity comes serious consequences, obesity can harm nearly every system in a person’s body including heart, lungs, muscles and bones, kidneys and digestive tract as well as the hormones that control blood sugar and puberty. These are just a few of the health risks that one is exposed to when they are obese. The main cause of obesity is sedentary living and poor nutrition and these causes are all increased by the use of technology. It has been proven that when an individual is watching television or playing video games they are more likely to be sedentary for longer periods of time along with increased snacking habits of high fat, high sugar, and high sodium foods. This can put someone on a fast track to obesity where they will be exposed to these health risks.

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A Critical Review of Chilhood Obesity

As a graduating undergraduate in RSS, an article I would recommend reading is:

Prentice-Dunn, H., & Prentice-Dunn, S. (2012). Physical activity, sedentary behavior, and childhood obesity: A review of cross-sectional studies. Journal of Psychology, Health & Medicine. 17(3), 255–273.

Childhood obesity is an important disease that is becoming more prevalent in Canada. More than 30% of children in Canada were reported to be overweight and obese in 2010 which is doubled compared to previous years. With current trends, obesity among children is said to go upwards to 70% by 2040. Due to this increasing issue, much research has been done to identify the causes and try to prevent the disease from growing.

As a kinesiology student, I feel I have a right to be a part of the group to facilitate change, whether that is with physical activity, nutrition, sport, or overall health and wellness initiatives. Childhood obesity is a topic I am most passionate about because it one of the number one reasons to premature death. Many people do not realize how to exercise, or eat healthy, and I think by combined informative prevention initiatives as well as physical activity programs targeted to the child that need it most, the community can start to change.

The article I reviewed involved a critical analysis of the topic of childhood obesity. The article was a review of the literature over the past ten years throughout 17 cross-sectional studies. The article focused on the dose-response relationship between physical activity and sedentary behaviours to overweight and obesity among children ages 2-19 to include all ages of children and youth. Results throughout the research showed there was a strong link between higher physical activity levels and a reduced risk for obesity in both girls and boys. Also many of the studies reviewed the most popular sedentary activities that contribute to the issue, which are television and video games. The article also highlights the importance of caloric intake due to increased accessibility to unhealthy foods and the media. In summary, the article shows that there is a strong link with obesity to physical activity and nutrition that is supported in a number of studies within the past decade. With this information, I feel that I am more aware of the issue of childhood obesity and its importance to prevent such a disease from spreading even more.

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