Pediatr Obes. 2017 Mar 28. doi: 10.1111/ijpo.12216.
There are no data regarding the Internet addiction (IA) rates and patterns in youth with obesity.
This study aimed to explore the prevalence and patterns of IA in children and adolescents with obesity. The relationship between IA and body mass index (BMI) was also investigated.
Study includes 437 children and adolescents with age ranging from 8 to 17 years: 268 with obesity and 169 with healthy controls. The Internet addiction scale (IAS) form was administered to all participants. The obesity group also completed a personal information form including Internet usage habits and goals. Linear regression analysis was utilized to assess the contributions of Internet use habits and goals to BMI in the obesity group and IAS scores to BMI in both groups.
A total of 24.6% of the obese children and adolescents were diagnosed with IA according to IAS, while 11.2% of healthy peers had IA (p < 0.05). The mean IAS scores for the obesity group and the control group were 53.71 ± 25.04 and 43.42 ± 17.36, respectively (p < 0.05). The IAS scores (t = 3.105) and spending time more than 21 h week-1 on the Internet (t = 3.262) were significantly associated with increased BMI in the obesity group (p < 0.05). Other Internet habits and goals were not associated with BMI (p > 0.05). The IAS scores (t = 8.719) were also found to be associated with increased BMI in the control group (p < 0.05).
The present study suggests that obese children and adolescents were found to have higher IA rates than their healthy peers, and the results indicate an association between IA and BMI.
KEYWORDS: Body mass index; Internet addiction; Internet use; obesity