Own a car or TV? Obesity, diabetes lurk at you

Own a car or TV? Obesity, diabetes lurk at you

Is there a possible connection between owning car or computer or even TV set with obesity? Definitely, say researchers.

Having high-priced consumer goods result in too much sitting, less physical activity and increased consumption of calories - and this can lead to lifestyle diseases like obesity and diabetes, shows new research.

"The spread of obesity and type-2 diabetes could become epidemic in low- and middle-income countries as more families are able to own higher priced modern-day conveniences such as TVs, computers and cars," warned Scott Lear, a professor of health sciences at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Canada.

It's the sitting that can be detrimental. It's not only the opposite of being active, but it actually reduces your body's ability to break down fat and use sugar in the blood for energy, explained Lear.

Lear headed an international research team that analysed data on more than 150,000 adults from 17 countries - ranging from high and middle income to low-income nations.

Researchers, who questioned participants about ownership as well as physical activity and diet, found a 400 percent increase in obesity and a 250 percent increase in diabetes among owners of these items in low-income countries.

The study also showed that owning all three devices was associated with a 31 percent decrease in physical activity, 21 percent increase in sitting and a 9 cm increase in waist size, compared with those who owned no devices.

The results can lead to potentially devastating societal health care consequences in these countries, Lear added.

Rates of increase of obesity and diabetes are expected to rise as low- and middle-income countries develop and become more industrialised, said the SFU study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

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