Impact of increasing social media use on sitting time and body mass index
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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 8h 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.
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