Mobile Phone Usage and its Health Effects Among Adults in a Semi-Urban Area of Southern India LC14-LC16
Dr. P. Stalin,
Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences,
Kalapet, Puducherry-605014, India.
Introduction: Worldwide, mobile phone usage has been increased dramatically which could affect the health of the people. India has the second largest number of mobile phone users. However there are only few studies conducted in India to assess its effects on health.
Aim: To determine the prevalence and pattern of mobile phone usage and to assess the relationship between certain selected health problems and mobile phone usage among adults. Settings and Design: Community-based cross-sectional study was conducted in Kottakuppam, a town panchayat in Villupuram district of Coastal Tamil Nadu, Southern India. It is a semi-urban area with a population of about 16,000. Majority of the residents are Muslim by religion and belong to different socio economic status.
Materials and Methods: The study was approved by the Institutional Ethics Committee. A total of 2121 study participants were interviewed by the pre-final medical students through house-to-house survey using a pretested structured questionnaire. The questionnaire included the variables such as socio demographic profile, mobile phone usage and pattern, selected health problems, perceived benefits and threats and blood pressure. Selected health problems included headache, earache, neck pain, tinnitus, painful fingers, restlessness, morning tiredness, tingling fingers, fatigue, eye symptoms, sleep disturbance and hypertension.
Statistical Analysis Used: Only 2054 were included for data analysis using SPSS 17 version. Proportions were calculated. Chi-square test was used to measure the p-value. The p-value < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant.
Results: The prevalence of mobile phone usage was 70%. Calling facility (94.2%) was used more than the SMS (67.6%). Health problems like headache, earache, tinnitus, painful fingers and restlessness etc., were found to be positively associated with mobile phone usage. There was negative association between hypertension and mobile phone usage.
Conclusion: The prevalence of mobile phone usage was high. There was significant association between selected health problems and mobile phone usage. In future, higher studies are required to confirm our findings.