Television watching, energy intake, and obesity in US children: results from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988-1994

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2001 Mar;155(3):360-5. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.155.3.360.

Abstract

Objectives: To examine the relationship between television watching, energy intake, physical activity, and obesity status in US boys and girls, aged 8 to 16 years.

Methods: We used a nationally representative cross-sectional survey with an in-person interview and a medical examination, which included measurements of height and weight, daily hours of television watching, weekly participation in physical activity, and a dietary interview. Between 1988 and 1994, the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey collected data on 4069 children. Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic blacks were oversampled to produce reliable estimates for these groups.

Results: The prevalence of obesity is lowest among children watching 1 or fewer hours of television a day, and highest among those watching 4 or more hours of television a day. Girls engaged in less physical activity and consumed fewer joules per day than boys. A higher percentage of non-Hispanic white boys reported participating in physical activity 5 or more times per week than any other race/ethnic and sex group. Television watching was positively associated with obesity among girls, even after controlling for age, race/ethnicity, family income, weekly physical activity, and energy intake.

Conclusions: As the prevalence of overweight increases, the need to reduce sedentary behaviors and to promote a more active lifestyle becomes essential. Clinicians and public health interventionists should encourage active lifestyles to balance the energy intake of children.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Energy Intake*
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Distribution
  • Television*
  • United States / epidemiology