Background: In addition to insufficient moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), prolonged sitting time is also a health risk for older adults. An understanding of population subgroups who have prolonged television viewing (TV) time, a predominant sedentary behavior, can aid in the development of relevant health promotion initiatives; however, few such studies have focused on older adults, the most sedentary segment of the population as a whole. The aim of this study is to examine the socio-demographic attributes associated with TV time among community-dwelling Japanese older men and women.
Methods: A population-based, cross-sectional mail survey was used to collect data on TV time, MVPA, and socio-demographic characteristics. The survey was conducted from February through March 2010. Participants were 2700 community-dwelling older adults (aged 65-74 years, 50% men) who were randomly selected from the registry of residential addresses of three cities in Japan. Data from 1665 participants (mean age: 69.5 years, 52% men) who completed all variables for the present study were analyzed. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to calculate the odds ratios (ORs) of prolonged TV time (>2 hours/day) for each socio-demographic attribute, stratified by gender.
Results: Of the 1665 participants, 810 (48.6%) watched TV for more than 2 hours/day. The median television viewing time (25th, 75th percentile) was 2.00 (1.07, 3.50) hours/day. Prolonged TV time was associated with not in full-time employment, lower educational attainment, weight status, living in regional areas and low MVPA for the whole sample. For men, prolonged TV time was associated with lower educational attainment; (OR = 1.53, 95% CI: 1.12-2.07), underweight (OR = 1.63, 95% CI: 1.02-2.60), overweight (OR = 1.57, 95% CI: 1.11-2.21), and low MVPA (OR = 1.43, 95% CI: 1.02-2.02). For women, living in regional areas (OR = 2.02, 95% CI: 1.33-3.08), living alone (OR = 1.61, 95% CI: 1.03-2.49), not driving (OR = 1.79, 95% CI 1.21-2.65), overweight (OR = 1.50, 95% CI: 1.00-2.24), and low MVPA (OR = 1.51. 95% CI: 1.05-2.17) were associated with prolonged TV time.
Conclusions: These findings identify particular socio-demographic and behavioral characteristics related to TV time among Japanese older adults. It should be noted that correlates of prolonged TV time differed by gender. Women in living situations with limited transportation options tended to spend prolonged time watching TV. Health promotion initiatives for older adults, particularly for older women, may be more effective if they take these attributes into account.