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A study by the University of Seville assessed the effects of COVID-19 home confinement on physical activity, sedentary behavior, smartphone use, and sleep patterns. It suggests that university students make excessive use of their mobile phones during the lockdown.

The investigation relates the number of hours that youngsters spend sitting down, their physical activity level, and state of mind when using a cell phone. Students with lower levels of physical activity used their cell phones almost three times more than others. Those detailing poorer sleep quality likewise used these devices more.

Scientists collected the data in a sample of 20 young adults over seven days pre- and during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The study shows that young people used their mobile phone 6h/day on average before lockdown, increasing to over 8h/day on average during the lockdown.

US professor Borja Sañudo said, “These data are very worrying if we consider that scientific evidence shows that a high number of hours sitting (more than eight hours per day) or excessive use of screen devices (three to four hours per day) is linked with a higher risk of mortality.”

The outcomes of the study suggest that the containment measures adopted during COVID-19 had a significant impact on the habits of this demographic group, especially on their levels of physical activity, which decreased significantly, but also on their sedentary lifestyle, increasing the time they remained seated (approximately 6h/day on average before the lockdown and about 10h/day during).

These bad habits had a negative impact on these young people’s health and significantly worsened their sleep quality.

Such studies encourage people to avoid a sedentary lifestyle, contributing to increasing physical activity levels and reducing mobile phones, thus improving the population’s health through behavioral changes.

Journal Reference:
  1. Borja Sañudo et al. Objectively Assessed Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, Smartphone Use, and Sleep Patterns Pre- and during-COVID-19 Quarantine in Young Adults from Spain, Sustainability (2020). DOI: 10.3390/su12155890

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