Background United Arab Emirates (UAE) has one of the highest rates of type to diabetes mellitus in the world. This aimed to determine relationship between screen time and metabolic syndrome (MetS) in adolescents.
Methods The study sample included 1012 adolescents (12–180 years) from a random sample of 8 schools out of 114 schools in Al Ain district of Abu Dhabi Emirates in UAE. Average daily screen time (combined computer, television, and video game use) self-reported. Anthropometric (weight, height, waist circumference), blood pressure measurement, blood draw after overnight fasting (for fasting blood sugar and plasma lipids) were completed by trained nurses. International Diabetes Federation criteria were used to define MetS. Overweight and obesity status were defined using the International Obesity Task Force definition.
Results A high proportion (53%) of study participants spent ≥2 hours on screen. The prevalence of MetS was 22% in boys and 4% in girls. Boys with MetS were more likely to spent ≥2 hours on screen (adjusted odds ratio 1.65, 95%CI, 1.01–2.69) compared to their counterparts who spent <2 hours, after adjustment for relevant covariates. We did not find a significant (p<0.05) relationship between screen time and MetS in girls.
Conclusion Screen time was associated with MetS in adolescents boys. Prevention initiatives for youth should include programs aimed at reducing screen time.