Screen time, weight status and the self-concept of physical attractiveness in adolescents

J Adolesc. 2016 Apr;48:11-7. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2016.01.005. Epub 2016 Feb 9.


Adolescents in modern societies spend about 3 h per day in front of small recreational screens. The present study aims at investigating the relationships between screen time and different indicators of overweight. In addition, associations with the self-concept of physical attractiveness and perceived weight status will be examined. In a total sample of 1228 students (47.5% girls) aged 12-17 years (M = 13.74, SD = 0.68) cross-sectional associations were determined by conducting multiple linear regression analyses. Screen time showed a significant positive dose-response relationship with body mass index percentile, waist circumference, body fat, waist-to-height-ratio, and a negative association with self-concept of physical attractiveness independent of age, gender and moderate to vigorous physical activity. Thus, screen time seems to be associated with adolescent overweight, abdominal obesity, and body dissatisfaction. Reducing adolescents' screen time could be a promising approach for primary prevention of obesity and for the promotion of a positive physical self-concept.

Keywords: Adolescence; Body satisfaction; Obesity; Screen time; Weight status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Body Image* / psychology
  • Body Weight*
  • Computers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Overweight / etiology*
  • Psychology, Adolescent
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Self Concept
  • Television / statistics & numerical data*
  • Time Factors