The Effects of Internet Addiction to Lifestyle and Dietary Behavior

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Nutrition Research and Practice (Nutr Res Pract) 2010;4(1):51-57 DOI: 10.4162/nrp.2010.4.1.51

The effects of Internet addiction on the lifestyle and dietary behavior of Korean adolescents Yeonsoo Kim *, Jin Young Park *, Sung Byuk Kim , In-Kyung Jung , Yun Sook Lim and Jung-Hyun Kim 1 2

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School of Human Ecology, Nutrition and Dietetics Program, Louisiana Tech University, LA 71272 USA Graduate school of Education, Chung-Ang University, Seoul 156-756, Korea 3 Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs, Seoul 110-793, Korea 4 Department of Home Economics Education, Chung-Ang University, Heukseok-dong, Dongjak-gu, Seoul 156-756, Korea 5 Department of Food and Nutrition, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-701, Korea

Abstract
We performed this study to examine lifestyle patterns and dietary behavior based on the level of Internet addiction of Korean adolescents. Data were collected from 853 Korean junior high school students. The level of Internet addiction was determined based on the Korean Internet addiction self-scale short form for youth, and students were classified as high-risk Internet users, potential-risk Internet users, and no risk Internet users. The associations between the students’ levels of Internet addiction and lifestyle patterns and dietary behavior were analyzed using a chi-square test. Irregular bedtimes and the use of alcohol and tobacco were higher in high-risk Internet users than no risk Internet users. Moreover, in high-risk Internet users, irregular dietary behavior due to the loss of appetite, a high frequency of skipping meals, and snacking might cause imbalances in nutritional intake. Diet quality in high-risk Internet users was also worse than in potential-risk Internet users and no risk Internet users. We demonstrated in this study that high-risk Internet users have inappropriate dietary behavior and poor diet quality, which could result in stunted growth and development. Therefore, nutrition education targeting high-risk Internet users should be conducted to ensure proper growth and development. Key Words: Internet addiction, dietary behavior, diet quality, adolescents

Introduction8)
The Internet has become an important tool for social interaction, information, and entertainment [1]. However, as the Internet has moved into homes, schools, Internet cafes, and businesses, the prevalence of Internet addiction has been increasing rapidly. Internet addiction is characterized as poorly controlled Internet use, and can lead to impulse-control disorders [2]. Recently, Internet addiction, especially among adolescents, has been recognized as an important social issue in various countries because of the high prevalence of depression, aggressive behavior, psychiatric symptoms, and interpersonal problems associated with this addiction [3,4]. The incidence of Internet addiction in adolescents was estimated to be approximately 11% in China [2], 8% in Greece [5], and 18.4% in Korea [1]. Adolescents are more vulnerable to Internet addiction than adults, and the social performance, psychology, and lifestyle habits of Internet addicts can be affected by this addiction [6]. Numerous cross-sectional studies have shown that Internet addiction has an adverse effect on several lifestyle-related factors

in adolescents; it can result in irregular dietary habits, extended periods of time spent on the Internet [7], physical inactivity, short duration of sleep [2], and increased use of alcohol and tobacco [2,8,9]. Some studies have reported that the change in lifestylerelated factors caused by heavy Internet use could have an adverse impact on the growth and development of Internet addicts [2,7]. Nutritional status also plays a crucial role in growth and development during adolescence. Several studies have shown that malnutrition or unbalanced nutritional intake can reduce weight gain and decrease leg length in adolescents [9,10]. Optimal nutrition is therefore important for...
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