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Is technology behind the rise in childhood obesity?


To some people, the rise of sit-down technology seems to have led to a rise in obesity.
To some people, the rise of sit-down technology seems to have led to a rise in obesity.
©iStockphoto.com/Fertnig

There's no question obesity has become a major health threat in the United States -- and with some recent studies showing one in three children to be obese, the problem clearly isn't going anywhere. The culprits appear to be many: fast-food availability, a correlation between low food prices and low nutritional value, decreasing physical activity among school-age children, and even a possible genetic link.

More and more people, though, are wondering if there's another, less obvious contributor to childhood obesity trends: technology. Can cell phones, video games and 600 television channels be making kids fat?

To some, it makes perfect sense. Sitting on a couch for six hours pressing buttons isn't burning a whole lot of calories. To others, though, it also rings of nostalgia-driven technophobia: "Kids these days and their video games. When I was young ..."

Well, as it so often turns out, what's crotchety may be at least a little bit right.