A Decade of Tech, Part 11

As previously mentioned here, electronic devices that include screens may have very beneficial effects, or devastatingly bad ones. Smartphone abuse can rise to levels that alienate friends and family members. Of course, that is canceled out by the amount of good done by family communication that is instantaneous and all-inclusive.

A few years back, the American Society for Nutrition did some research, looking to understand the relationship between being overweight and spending a lot of time on the phone. According to Korea University analysts using data garnered from an annual web-based survey of 53,000 Korean teens, it turns out that…

Teens spending more than 3 hours per day on a smartphone were significantly more likely to be overweight or obese.

And when it gets up to five hours per diem, look out! These are the customers who keep the sugar-sweetened beverage industry in business, and enable potato chip barons to have second and third yachts.

A toxic relationship

Cause and effect might be tricky to sort out in fine detail, but there are undeniable correlations between breakfast-skipping, junk food consumption, and other behaviors — such as obsessive phone use — and obesity.

But wait, there is more… According to the study’s senior author Hannah Oh, Sc.D., the amount of time spent on the phone is a factor separate from the type of content consumed or interacted with:

Teens who reported using their phones more for information search and retrieval overall had healthier eating behaviors than those using their phones more for chatting/messenger, gaming, video/music and social networks. Respondents who used their smartphone most frequently for gaming, video/music or webtoon/web-novel were more likely to be overweight or obese.

The study authors believe in the capacity of smartphone technology “to improve public health through nutrition-tracking apps or by using digital platforms to make information about healthy eating more accessible.” They emphasize the importance of efforts to use the technology to “maximize the positive effects and minimize the negative effects of smartphone use on adolescent health.”

A positive use of the smartphone

Do we have in mind a positive example of smartphone technology used to prevent and reverse obesity in young people? Indeed, yes. Please visit BrainWeighve, where the page will take you to the User Manual to see what it’s all about.

Dr. Pretlow and the team have been working for years to bring this project to peak perfection. It is part of being human to generate nervous energy which can either benefit a person or cause great harm. The BrainWeighve app shows how to take that energy and change it from a self-targeting weapon to a marvelous tool that can legitimately be called a life-changer.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Smartphone use associated with unhealthy eating and overweight in teens,” MedicalXpress.com, 06/07/21

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Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

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The Book

OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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