United States Adolescents' Television, Computer, Videogame, Smartphone, and Tablet Use: Associations with Sugary Drinks, Sleep, Physical Activity, and Obesity

J Pediatr. 2017 Mar;182:144-149. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.11.015. Epub 2016 Dec 14.


Objective: To quantify the relationships between youth use of television (TV) and other screen devices, including smartphones and tablets, and obesity risk factors.

Study design: TV and other screen device use, including smartphones, tablets, computers, and/or videogames, was self-reported by a nationally representative, cross-sectional sample of 24 800 US high school students (2013-2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveys). Students also reported on health behaviors including sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) intake, physical activity, sleep, and weight and height. Sex-stratified logistic regression models, adjusting for the sampling design, estimated associations between TV and other screen device use and SSB intake, physical activity, sleep, and obesity.

Results: Approximately 20% of participants used other screen devices for ≥5 hours daily. Watching TV ≥5 hours daily was associated with daily SSB consumption (aOR = 2.72, 95% CI: 2.23, 3.32) and obesity (aOR = 1.78, 95% CI: 1.40, 2.27). Using other screen devices ≥5 hours daily was associated with daily SSB consumption (aOR = 1.98, 95% CI: 1.69, 2.32), inadequate physical activity (aOR = 1.94, 95% CI: 1.69, 2.25), and inadequate sleep (aOR = 1.79, 95% CI: 1.54, 2.08).

Conclusions: Using smartphones, tablets, computers, and videogames is associated with several obesity risk factors. Although further study is needed, families should be encouraged to limit both TV viewing and newer screen devices.

Keywords: adolescents; mobile devices; obesity; sleep; sugar-sweetened beverages; television.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Beverages / statistics & numerical data
  • Computers / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pediatric Obesity / etiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Sleep*
  • Smartphone / statistics & numerical data
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Television / statistics & numerical data
  • United States
  • Video Games / statistics & numerical data


  • Sweetening Agents