Does Television Viewing Increase Obesity and Reduce Physical Activity? Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Analyses Among Adolescent Girls
To examine the relationships between hours of television viewing and adiposity and physical activity among female adolescents, a cohort study with follow-up assessments 7, 14, and 24 months after baseline was conducted. All sixth- and seventh-grade girls (N = 971) attending four northern California middle schools were eligible to participate. Six hundred seventy-one students had sufficient data for baseline cross-sectional analyses, and 279 students in a no-intervention cohort had sufficient data for longitudinal analyses. The baseline sample had a mean age of 12.4 years and was 43% white, 22% Asian, 21% Latino, 6% Pacific Islander, 4% black, 2% American Indian, and 2% other. Hours of after-school television viewing, level of physical activity, and stage of sexual maturation were assessed with self-report instruments. Height, weight, and triceps skinfold thickness were measured and body mass index (ratio of weight [in kilograms] to height [in meters] squared) and triceps skinfold thickness were adjusted by level of sexual maturity for the analyses. Baseline hours of after-school television viewing was not significantly associated with either baseline or longitudinal change in body mass index or triceps skinfold thickness. Baseline hours of after-school television viewing was weakly negatively associated with level of physical activity in cross-sectional analyses but not significantly associated with change in level of physical activity over time. All results were essentially unchanged when adjusted for age, race, parent education, and parent fatness. Among adolescent girls, television viewing time appears to have only weak, if any, meaningful associations with adiposity, physical activity, or change in either over time.
- Received June 18, 1992.
- Accepted July 30, 1992.
- Copyright © 1993 by the American Academy of Pediatrics