Smartphone addiction could lead to serious weight gain and the onslaught of deadly diseases, according to a new study.

Young adults who use their smartphones five or more hours per day have a 43 percent increased risk of obesity and other health-related problems, including heart disease according to Colombian researchers.

“Spending too much time in front of the Smartphone facilitates sedentary behaviors and reduces time for physical activity, which increases the risk of premature death, diabetes, heart disease, different types of cancer, osteoarticular discomfort and musculoskeletal symptoms,” said Mirary Mantilla-Morron, a cardiac pulmonary and vascular rehabilitation specialist at the Simon Bolivar University (SBU) in Colombia.

The study involved 1,060 students, 700 women and 360 men aged 19 years and 20 years respectively, from the Health Sciences Faculty at the SBU from June to December 2018.

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Researchers found that students who are glued to their smartphones “were twice as likely to drink more sugary drinks, fast food, sweets, snacks and have decreased physical activity.”

Mantilla-Morron, who is also the lead author of the study, said “it is important that the general population know and be aware that, although mobile technology is undoubtedly attractive for its multiple purposes, portability, comfort, access to countless services, information and entertainment sources, it should also be used to improve habits and healthy behaviors.”

The potential link between technology and obesity is ripe for exploration, as more than 1.9 billion adults worldwide were overweight in 2016, with 650 million obese, according to the World Health Organization.

“We have also determined that the amount of time in which a person is exposed to the use of technologies-specifically prolonged cell phone use–is associated with the development of obesity,” she added.

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