Relationship between screen time and metabolic syndrome in adolescents

J Public Health (Oxf). 2008 Jun;30(2):153-60. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdn022. Epub 2008 Mar 28.


Background: The primary objective was to determine the dose-response relation between screen time (television + computer) and the metabolic syndrome (MetS) in adolescents.

Methods: The study sample included 1803 adolescents (12-19 years) from the 1999-04 US National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Average daily screen time (combined television, computer and video game use) was self-reported. MetS was defined according to adolescent criteria linked to the adult criteria of the National Cholesterol Education Program (> or =3 of high triglycerides, high fasting glucose, high waist circumference, high blood pressure and low HDL cholesterol).

Results: After adjustment for relevant covariates, the odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) for MetS increased in a dose-response manner (P(trend) < 0.01) across < or =1 h/day (1.00, referent), 2 h/day (1.21, 0.54-2.73), 3 h/day (2.16, 0.99-4.74), 4 h/day (1.73, 0.72-4.17) and > or =5 h/day (3.07, 1.48-6.34) screen time categories. Physical activity had a minimal impact on the relation between screen time and MetS.

Conclusions: Screen time was associated with an increased likelihood of MetS in a dose-dependent manner independent of physical activity. These findings suggest that lifestyle-based public health interventions for youth should include a specific component aimed at reducing screen time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Computers*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Motor Activity*
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Television*
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Video Games*