Health Promotion Journal of Australia Health Promotion Journal of Australia Society
Journal of the Australian Health Promotion Association
RESEARCH ARTICLE (Open Access)

Impact of increasing social media use on sitting time and body mass index

Stephanie Alley A E , Pauline Wellens B , Stephanie Schoeppe A , Hein de Vries B , Amanda L. Rebar A , Camille E. Short C , Mitch J. Duncan D and Corneel Vandelanotte A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Physical Activity Research Group, School of Human, Health and Social Sciences, Building 18, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Qld 4702, Australia.

B Department of Health Promotion, Caphri Research School, Maastricht University, POB 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, Netherlands.

C Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health, School of Medicine, University of Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia.

D School of Medicine and Public Health; Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.

E Corresponding author. Email: s.alley@cqu.edu.au

Health Promotion Journal of Australia 28(2) 91-95 https://doi.org/10.1071/HE16026
Submitted: 7 April 2016  Accepted: 15 September 2016   Published: 28 October 2016

Abstract

Issue addressed: Sedentary behaviours, in particular sitting, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and poorer mental health status. In Australia, 70% of adults sit for more than 8 h per day. The use of social media applications (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) is on the rise; however, no studies have explored the association of social media use with sitting time and body mass index (BMI).

Methods: Cross-sectional self-report data on demographics, BMI and sitting time were collected from 1140 participants in the 2013 Queensland Social Survey. Generalised linear models were used to estimate associations of a social media score calculated from social media use, perceived importance of social media, and number of social media contacts with sitting time and BMI.

Results: Participants with a high social media score had significantly greater sitting times while using a computer in leisure time and significantly greater total sitting time on non-workdays. However, no associations were found between social media score and sitting to view TV, use motorised transport, work or participate in other leisure activities; or total workday, total sitting time or BMI.

Conclusions: These results indicate that social media use is associated with increased sitting time while using a computer, and total sitting time on non-workdays.

So what?: The rise in social media use may have a negative impact on health by contributing to computer sitting and total sitting time on non-workdays. Future longitudinal research with a representative sample and objective sitting measures is needed to confirm findings.

Key words: computer, screen time, sedentary behaviour, social networking.


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