A recent study on the activity level of Americans to investigate the obesity epidemic has led to an interesting finding regarding PC usage.
While we know the number of PCs in use worldwide has remained stable at around 1.5 billion PC since 2013, it has been generally believed that actual PC usage has decreased as leisure usage shifted to smartphones.
Yin Cao from The National Health Nutrition Examination Survey with 51,896 participants, however, delivered a contrary result.
It found that between 2001 and 2016, the total time adults and teens spend sitting daily has increased by an hour per day; from 6.4 hours to 8.2 hours. The estimated total sitting time increased from 2007 to 2016 (from 7.0 to 8.2 h/d among adolescents and from 5.5 to 6.4 h/d among adults).
This was largely led by an increase in the number of us spending more time sitting in front of a PC. The estimated prevalence of computer use outside school or work for at least 1 h/d increased from 2001 to 2016 (from 43% to 56% for children, from 53% to 57% among adolescents, and from 29% to 50% for adults). Interestingly the estimated time spent watching TV and video was even higher, but has been stable since 2001.
Another report by Datareportal, using Statcounter data of web usage, shows PC usage up 6.3% while phone usage slipped 5 and tablet usage dropped 4.6%. Notably this excluded app usage however, though it does remind us that smartphone sales have been flagging while PC sales appear stable to trending up.
Sitting has been associated with a number of adverse metabolic outcomes such as diabetes and obesity, an issue that PC users have attempted to address at work with standing desks. With PC usage actually increasing at home, though, it seems PCs are not just still very relevant, but also a threat to our health there.