Screen time, social media use, and weight-change behaviors: Results from an international sample of adolescents

Prev Med. 2023 Mar:168:107450. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2023.107450. Epub 2023 Feb 14.

Abstract

This study aimed to investigate whether screen time and social media use are associated with weight-change behaviors among an international sample of adolescents. Cross-sectional data from the 2020 International Food Policy Study Youth Survey (ages 10-17; Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico, United Kingdom, United States; N = 12,031) were analyzed. Self-reported hours of use of five forms of screen time (e.g., social media use), and total screen time per weekday were assessed. Use of six contemporary social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Instagram) were also assessed. Weight-change behaviors included current attempts to gain weight, lose weight, stay the same weight, and not do anything to change weight, as well as dieting to lose weight in the past 12 months. Greater total screen time per weekday was associated with attempts to gain weight and lose weight, and dieting to lose weight. Specific social media platform use was associated with weight-change behaviors. For example, use of Twitter was most strongly associated with attempts to gain weight, lose weight, and dieting to lose weight. Findings underscore the international pervasiveness of screen time and social media use correlating with weight-change behaviors among adolescents. Global efforts are needed to ensure the appropriate use of screens and social media among adolescents.

Keywords: Adolescents; Screen time; Social media; Weight-change behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Screen Time
  • Social Media*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Weight Loss