Ireland: screen use and obesity linked to short-sightedness in children

11 April 2019

Sedentary lifestyle, obesity, heavy use of screens and reduced daylight are making short-sightedness in children more likely, researchers have found.

Obese children and children with sedentary lifestyles were three times more likely to be short-sighted than those with a healthy weight or involved in regular physical activities.

The study, which appeared in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, also reports that children who spent less than one hour outdoors each day were five times more likely to be short-sighted than those who are outdoors for more than four hours a day during summer.

Breastfeeding for the first three months also appears to have a protective effect, with bottle-fed babies twice as likely to suffer from short-sightedness later in childhood.

Scientists from Technological University Dublin and the Waterford Institute of Technology examined 1600 children and quizzed parents on their children’s diet and lifestyle.

Co-author Siofra Harrington said: ‘We’re seeing a perfect storm, where children are increasingly spending their time indoors, are not physically active, and are using their eyes at short ranges.’

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