With access to increasing digital devices such as smartphones, tablets, smart watches, laptops and more, most people are busy switching from one form of media to another. Mid-work, their attention is disturbed by the beep of a notification which makes them take a stroll in their social media feeds. This habit of jumping from one app to another, from one device to another can be called media multitasking.
Now researchers think that since media multitasking has increased over the years that also along with the increase of obesity, there must be a link between the two. To investigate if there is a link and what this link is, scientists carried out two studies.
What Does This New Research Reveal?
A new study which has been conducted by researchers from the the Rice University, TX, Dartmouth College, NH, and The Ohio State University, Columbus has found a link between obesity and media multitasking. Accordingly, people who switch from one media device to another tend to have little self-control and are more likely to be obese or overweight.
This research has been published in the Brain Imaging and Behavior journal. For research purposes, two co-related studies were carried out. In the first one, 132 participants in the age group pf 18 to 23 were hired. These participants were given questionnaires that asked them about how they multitasked and how they got distracted.
This first study revealed that those who multitasked on media, they had higher BMIs and more body fat in comparison to those who didn’t. For the second study, scientists picked 72 people from the previous set of participants. These individuals had agreed to go through functional MRI scans so that the researchers could look at their brain activity when they viewed images of appealing but unhealthy food.
These scans revealed that those people who had scored high on media multitasking in the previous study had raised activity levels in the regions of the brain associated with the reward cycle which plays a part in the addiction of unhealthy habits. Further research revealed that these people were also more likely to spend an increased amount of time around campus eateries.
The findings, therefore, showed a link between obesity or being overweight and multitasking on digital devices. The head researcher pointed out that this link stresses on an important concern that one’s use of digital media could impact the brain’s processes and in turn, affect his habits and health. Further research is needed to study the matter in more detail.
Over the past few years two things have increased almost together – the habits of people in switching from one multimedia device to another, and obesity. This suggests that there might be a link between the two. A research dived into this and found that those who spend more time multitasking on media are likely to have bad eating habits and a higher body mass index.