Correlates of change in adults' television viewing time: a four-year follow-up study

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012 Jul;44(7):1287-92. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31824ba87e.


Purpose: Adults tend to increase their television (TV) viewing time as they age, but little is known about attributes associated with change in TV viewing over time. This study examined individual, social, and environmental correlates of change in TV viewing time for 4 yr.

Methods: Adult participants (n = 897) from a longitudinal epidemiological study in Adelaide, Australia, reported TV viewing time at baseline (2003-2004) and at follow- up (2007-2008). Generalized linear modeling was used to examine correlates of change in TV viewing time.

Results: The mean TV viewing time increased from 112 to 116 min·d(-1) from baseline to follow-up. Adjusted for TV viewing time at baseline, having a tertiary education was associated with a 13% lower TV time at follow-up (P = 0.007). Each additional hour of occupational and transport physical activity at baseline was associated with a 2% and 7% lower TV viewing at follow-up (P = 0.031 and P = 0.023, respectively). For men, an additional hour of domestic physical activity was associated with a 7% higher TV viewing time at follow-up (P = 0.006). A significant neighborhood walkability × working status interaction (P = 0.035) indicated that, for those who were not working, living in a highly walkable neighborhood was associated with a 23% lower TV viewing time at follow-up (P = 0.003).

Conclusions: Adults with lower educational attainment, adults with lower occupational and transport physical activity, men with higher domestic physical activity, and nonworking adults living in lowly walkable neighborhoods were at higher risk of increase in TV viewing time. Interventions should target multiple variables at the individual, social, and environmental levels to address age-related increases in TV viewing time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Causality
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Social Environment
  • Television / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult