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Warning: laptops can be dangerous to your health

Is it time that laptops and games consoles came with a government health warning?

I ask this question in the wake of yet another survey highlighting the damage being done to the nation’s health by people spending far too long hunched uncomfortably over their portables.

The latest one showed that around one-third of under 25s now regularly take self-medicated painkillers to ease aches and pains caused in large part by the hours they spend bent over laptops and computer games.

Under the heading ‘Backache Generation’, the Daily Mail reported that young people are suffering ten times more back pain than their parents did at the same age.

This follows other recent surveys by the British Chiropractic Association and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists that showed alarming increases in musculoskeletal problems among young people and a fast-growing reliance on painkillers to ease the pain because of treatment delays.

It all goes to prove that we are storing up huge problems both for employers and the NHS. Already back pain costs the economy at least five million working days a year and is the cause of half a million people getting long-term incapacity benefits. Unless more preventative action is taken, things will only get worse.

The government has, quite rightly, put its full legislative and educational weight behind moves to warn people about the dangers of smoking, excessive drinking and obesity.

So should it now be taking a closer interest in the growing menace of musculoskeletal problems?

We all know that laptops and games consoles in themselves aren’t harmful. It’s the way they’re used. More official warnings about the dangers of ‘laptop slouch’ and awareness of the means of avoiding it would do everyone a big favour.