The relationships among sedentary time, television viewing time, and dietary patterns in children are not fully understood. The aim of this paper was to determine which of self-reported television viewing time or objectively measured sedentary time is a better correlate of the frequency of consumption of healthy and unhealthy foods. A cross-sectional study was conducted of 9- to 11-year-old children (n = 523; 57.1% female) from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Accelerometers were used to determine total sedentary time, and questionnaires were used to determine the number of hours of television watching and the frequency of consumption of foods per week. Television viewing was negatively associated with the frequency of consumption of fruits, vegetables, and green vegetables, and positively associated with the frequency of consumption of sweets, soft drinks, diet soft drinks, pastries, potato chips, French fries, fruit juices, ice cream, fried foods, and fast food. Except for diet soft drinks and fruit juices, these associations were independent of covariates, including sedentary time. Total sedentary time was negatively associated with the frequency of consumption of sports drinks, independent of covariates, including television viewing. In combined sedentary time and television viewing analyses, children watching >2 h of television per day consumed several unhealthy food items more frequently than did children watching ≤2 h of television, regardless of sedentary time. In conclusion, this paper provides evidence to suggest that television viewing time is more strongly associated with unhealthy dietary patterns than is total sedentary time. Future research should focus on reducing television viewing time, as a means of improving dietary patterns and potentially reducing childhood obesity.
Keywords: apport alimentaire; apport énergétique; childhood obesity; comportement sédentaire; energy intake; food intake; observational study; obésité chez les enfants; screen time; sedentary behaviour; television watching; temps d’écran; écoute de la télévision; étude observationnelle.