Home » News » Can Your iPhone Make You Fatter? Smartphones May Lessen Fitness

Can Your iPhone Make You Fatter? Smartphones May Lessen Fitness

Can Your iPhone Make You Fatter? Smartphones May Lessen FitnessApparently the many temptations of smartphones — be it talking, texting, surfing online or gaming — can lead to increased sedentary behaviors and poorer fitness.

Or at least, so finds a new study of college students by Kent State University researchers.

Drs. Jacob Barkley and Andrew Lepp, faculty members in the College of Education, Health and Human Services discovered use of smartphones was associated with poor fitness in college students.

Barkley and Lepp were interested in the relationship between smartphones and fitness levels because, unlike television, phones are small and portable, therefore making it possible to use them while doing physical activity.

But what the researchers found was that despite the phone’s mobility, high use contributed to a sedentary lifestyle for some subjects.

More than 300 college students from the Midwest were surveyed on their cell phone usage and activity level. Of those students, 49 had their fitness level and body composition tested. The researchers’ results showed that students who spent large amounts of time on their cell phones — as much as 14 hours per day — were less fit than those who averaged a little more than 90 minutes of cell phone use daily.

One subject said in the interview data: “Now that I have switched to the iPhone I would say it definitely decreases my physical activity because before I just had a Blackberry, so I didn’t have much stuff on it. But now, if I’m bored, I can just download whatever I want.”

The study is believed to the first to assess the relationship between cell phone use and fitness level among any population. Barkley and Lepp conclude that their findings suggest that cell phone use may be able to gauge a person’s risk for a multitude of health issues related to an inactive lifestyle.

The study appears online in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

Source: Kent State University

Smartphone photo by shutterstock.

Can Your iPhone Make You Fatter? Smartphones May Lessen Fitness

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Can Your iPhone Make You Fatter? Smartphones May Lessen Fitness. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 18, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.