The association of television viewing with snacking behavior and body weight of young adults

Am J Health Promot. May-Jun 2008;22(5):329-35. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.22.5.329.


Purpose: Investigate whether TV viewing and recognition of snack food advertisements were associated with snack food consumption and the odds of being overweight or obese.

Design: Cross-sectional internet-based survey.

Setting: University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

Subjects: Undergraduate university students aged 18 to 25 years (N = 613).

Measures: Self-reported TV viewing, energy-dense snack consumption, snacking while viewing TV, and body weight.

Analysis: Hypothesis testing was completed using multiple analysis of variance, analysis of covariance, and logistic regression.

Results: Students reporting medium or high TV viewership snacked more frequently while watching TV and recognized more advertising than students who were considered low viewers. High viewers also reported more consumption of energy-dense snacks than low viewers. Snacking frequency appeared to be related to TV viewing and place of residence, but the association between snacking frequency and TV viewing was not accounted for by advertising. Conversely, the association between TV viewing and consumption of energy-dense snacks was accounted for by advertising recognition. Finally, male students (odds ratio [OR], 2.78; 99% confidence interval [CI], 1.68-4.59) and medium (OR, 3.11; 99% CI, 1.37-7.08) and high (OR, 5.47; 99% CI, 1.97-15.16) TVviewers had higher odds of being overweight or obese.

Conclusions: Associations were found among TV viewing, energy-dense snack consumption, and snacking behavior, and between TV viewing and body weight status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Advertising
  • Body Weight*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Television*