Television, Reading, and Computer Time: Correlates of School-Day Leisure-Time Sedentary Behavior and Relationship With Overweight in Children in the U.S

J Phys Act Health. 2011 Sep;8(s2):S188-S197. doi: 10.1123/jpah.8.s2.s188.


Background: The purposes were 1) to determine if different leisure-time sedentary behaviors (LTSB), such as TV/video/video game viewing/playing (TV), reading for pleasure (reading), and nonschool computer usage, were associated with childhood overweight status, and 2) to assess the social-ecological correlates of LTSB.

Methods: The analytic sample was 33,117 (16,952 boys and 16,165 girls) participants from the 2003 National Survey of Children's Health. The cut-point for excessive TV and nonschool computer usage was ≥ 2 hr/day. High quantities of daily reading for pleasure were classified as ≥ 31 min/day. Weighted descriptive characteristics were calculated on the sample (means ± SE or frequency). Logistic regression models were used to determine if the LTSB were associated with overweight status and to examine social-ecological correlates.

Results: Over 35% of the sample was overweight. Odds of being overweight were higher in the 2 to 3 hr/day (OR: 1.48, 95% CI: 1.24, 1.76) and ≥ 4 hr/day (OR: 1.52, 95% CI: 1.22, 1.91) daily TV groups compared with none. Reading and nonschool computer usage was not associated with being overweight.

Conclusions: TV was associated with overweight classification; however, nonschool computer usage and reading were not. Several individual, family, and community correlates were associated with high volumes of daily TV viewing.

Keywords: TV; health risk; productive sedentary; screen time; social-ecological model.