Objective: To assess the association of physical activity, television program viewing and other forms of video viewing with the prevalence of obesity among school children.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Subjects: 712 children, 9-16 y old, from a low- and a middle-income town in the Mexico City area.
Measurements: Children completed a self administered questionnaire to assess time spent in physical activity and television viewing, and diet. Height weight and triceps skinfolds were measured. The outcome variable was obesity, and the covariates were hours of television programs and other video viewing, physical activity, energy intake, percentage of energy from fat, town of location of school, age, gender and perception of mother's weight status.
Results: Among 461 children with complete information, 24% were classified as obese. Children reported an average of 4.1 +/- 2.2 h/d watching television (2.4 +/- 1.5 h/d for TV programs and 1.7 +/- 1.5 h/d for video cassette recorder (VCR) or videogames), and 1.8 +/- 1.3 h/d in moderate and vigorous physical activities. Odds ratios (OR) of obesity were 12% higher for each hour of television program viewing per day (OR = 1.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02,-1.22), and 10% lower for each hour of moderate/vigorous physical activity per day (OR = 0.90, 95% CI 0.83-0.98), controlling for age, gender, town and perception of mother's weight status. Children in the middle-income town had higher adjusted odds of obesity (OR = 2.58, 95% CI 1.47-4.54).
Conclusion: Physical activity and television viewing, but not VCR/videogames use, were related to obesity prevalence in Mexican children 9-16 y old.