Association of eating while television viewing and overweight/obesity among children and adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies

Obes Rev. 2018 Mar;19(3):313-320. doi: 10.1111/obr.12637. Epub 2017 Dec 19.


The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to examine the association between eating while television viewing (TVV) and overweight or obesity in children (<18 years). A systematic search of PubMed, Scopus, Web of science, PreQuest and Embase was conducted up to April 2017; pooled odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using a random effects model. Of 4,357 articles identified, 20 observational studies met inclusion criteria (n = 84,825) and 8 of these 20 (n = 41,617) reported OR. Eating while TVV was positively associated with obesity-related anthropometric measurements in 15 studies (75%). The meta-analysis revealed that eating while TVV was positively associated with being overweight (OR = 1.28; 95% CI: 1.17, 1.39). Subgroup analyses showed similar positive associations in both girls and boys, as well as in children who ate dinner while TVV. There was no evidence of publication bias. The present systematic review and meta-analysis suggests that eating while TVV could be a risk factor for being overweight or obese in childhood and adolescents.

Keywords: Children; obesity; overweight; television viewing.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude to Health
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Pediatric Obesity / epidemiology
  • Pediatric Obesity / etiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Television*