Screen time increases overweight and obesity risk among adolescents: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis

BMC Prim Care. 2022 Jun 28;23(1):161. doi: 10.1186/s12875-022-01761-4.


Background: Adolescence is a critical period in human life, associated with reduced physical activity and increased sedentary behaviors. In this systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis, we evaluated the association between screen time and risk of overweight/obesity among adolescents.

Methods: A systematic search in electronic databases, including PubMed, Embase, and Scopus was performed up to September 2021. All published studies evaluating the association between screen time and risk of overweight/obesity among adolescents were retrieved. Finally, a total of 44 eligible studies were included in the meta-analysis.

Results: The results of the two-class meta-analysis showed that adolescents at the highest category of screen time were 1.27 times more likely to develop overweight/obesity (OR = 1.273; 95% CI = 1.166-1.390; P < 0.001; I-squared (variation in ES attributable to heterogeneity) = 82.1%). The results of subgrouping showed that continent and setting were the possible sources of heterogeneity. Moreover, no evidence of non-linear association between increased screen time and risk of overweight/obesity among adolescents was observed (P-nonlinearity = 0.311).

Conclusion: For the first time, the current systematic review and meta-analysis revealed a positive association between screen time and overweight/obesity among adolescents without any dose-response evidence.

Trial registration: The protocol of the current work has been registered in the PROSPERO system (Registration number: CRD42021233899 ).

Keywords: Adiposity; Dose-response; Meta-analysis; Obesity; Overweight; Screen time.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Overweight* / epidemiology
  • Screen Time*