LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - At an alarming rate, more and more children are spending their spare time in front of screens.
June Cook is a grandmother to three girls. She and her daughter limit the amount of time her grandkids interact with or work on various devices.
"If we let them sit there in front of it (any screen), then they'll do it all day long. They are just kids. Once they get their mind focused onto something, then they're going to keep at it until you get them off to something else."
While Cook's family has developed good habits, others have not.
A recent study published in the British Medical Journal now shows that children who indulge in more screen time are at an increased risk for developing diabetes.
LeAnne Anderson is a nutritionist at CHI St. Luke's Memorial Health in Lufkin. She explained she sees this firsthand with the patients who come into her office.
"In working with the patients here, you see that the children are not as active. One of the concerns parents have is the time that they spend watching TV or on the computer or iPad or iPhone," Anderson said.
The study found that children who watch TV, play video games, and use electronic devices for three or more hours per day are more likely to have higher levels of body fat and resistance to the hormone insulin. Insulin enables the body to turn sugar into energy. Resistance to the pancreatic hormone makes it more difficult to regulate energy levels and can result in Type 2 diabetes.
June's granddaughter Breiley Ross, who is in the fourth grade, said her peers binge on smart devices during their break.
"It's a couple other kids, and they'll say, 'I would like to get out of school, and I'm going to be on my electronics all Spring Break,'" Ross explained.
Although Ross has a phone, she said her mom only lets her use it for communication while she prefers the outdoors.
"If I didn't have this phone, I would still be playing outside," Ross said.
Anderson recommends limiting children to small allotted amounts of screen time. She also said that getting at least an hour, if not more, of outdoor activity is a must to stay healthy.