Study: Too much TV may be an indicator of poor blood-glucose control

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Type 1 diabetics who watch the most television have poorer blood-sugar control on average, according to a study published online Sept. 16 by the American Diabetes Association's journal Diabetes Care.

In the cross-sectional study, self-report questionnaires were used to assess media consumption habits, physical activity and socioeconomic status in 296 children, adolescents and young adults with Type 1 diabetes.

While study authors acknowledged there could be no direct correlation between television watching and blood-glucose control, at least not with this study, they surmised on possible explanation behind possible links would be in snacking — sedentary people watching TV tend to snack more, they suggested.

Youths with Type 1 diabetes (average age 14 years) spent 2.9 hours per day watching TV and using computers; they participated in physical exercise around five hours per week. Those who watched four or more hours of TV or used the computer recorded a hemoglobin A1C of 9.3% on average, versus 8.5% for those who spent less time watching TV or surfing the Internet.

According to the Council for the Advancement of Diabetes Research and Education, the risk for macrovascular and microvascular complications in all people begins to increase at an A1C level of 6.5%, with people having A1C levels of greater than 8% experiencing significantly greater complication rates. CADRE recommends for diabetics that the A1C level be managed below 7% to reduce the risk of any microvascular complications.

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