Background: Obesity is epidemic in the U.S. and has been associated with television viewing.
Objective: To describe the association between obesity and television viewing practices among women veterans.
Design, setting and participants: Cross-sectional, mailed survey completed by 1,555 female veterans enrolled at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in 2000.
Measurements and methods: We used bivariate and multivariate analyses to assess the association of obesity (body mass index >30 kg/m2 based on self-reported height and weight) with self-reported number of hours of television or videos viewed per day, and frequency of eating meals or snacking while watching television, controlling for other covariates.
Results: Watching television >2 hours per typical day on week days and/or weekends was associated with obesity (P<.001), as was eating or snacking while watching television (P=.003). In multivariate logistic regression analyses, watching television >2 hours per day and eating or snacking while watching television were each associated with obesity (odds ratio [OR] 1.4, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.1 to 1.8; and OR 1.3, 95% CI 1.0 to 1.7, respectively), after adjusting for demographic variables, smoking, physical activity, and depression. Results were similar when posttraumatic stress disorder was included in the model instead of depression. Women who both watched >2 hours of television per day and ate or snacked while viewing were almost twice as likely to be obese (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.4 to 2.6).
Conclusion: Watching television over 2 hours per day and eating while watching television were each associated with obesity among female VA patients and may be modifiable risk factors for obesity.