New research suggests boys who spend too much time at the computer have a lower bone density than those who do not.
The skeleton is at its strongest in early adulthood, but bone health can be heavily affected by diet and exercise, an International Osteoporosis Foundation news release reported. Living a sedentary lifestyle in youth could have serious consequences when it comes to the skeleton.
The researchers looked at 463 girls and 484 boys between the ages of 15 and 18. The team assessed their Bone Mineral Density (BMD) and certain lifestyle factors such as how much time they spent in front of the computer. The team used a multiple regression model that included "[adjustments] for age, sexual maturation, BMI, leisure time physical activity, smoking, alcohol, cod liver oil and carbonated drink consumption" to find the link between computer time and BMD.
Boys were found to spend more time in front of the screen than girls; the males who spent more time than others at the computer tended to have a lower BMD and higher Body Mass Index (BMI). In contrast girls who spent four to six hours per day in front of the computer had a higher BMD than those who only spent 1.5 hours; the researchers were not able to explain this finding with "adjustments for the different parameters measured," the news release reported.
"Bone mineral density is a strong predictor of future fracture risk. [Our] findings for girls are intriguing and definitely merit further exploration in other studies and population groups. The findings for boys on the other hand clearly show that sedentary lifestyle during adolescence can impact on BMD and thus compromise the acquisition of peak bone mass. This can have a negative impact in terms of osteoporosis and fracture risk later in life," lead author of the study Doctor Anne Winther of the Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, said in the news release.