Epidemic obesity in the United States: are fast foods and television viewing contributing?

Am J Public Health. 1998 Feb;88(2):277-80. doi: 10.2105/ajph.88.2.277.


Objectives: This study examined the association between TV viewing, fast food eating, and body mass index.

Methods: Associations between hours of TV viewing, frequency of eating at fast food restaurants, body mass index, and behaviors were assessed cross sectionally and longitudinally over 1 year in 1059 men and women.

Results: Fast food meals and TV viewing hours were positively associated with energy intake and body mass index in women but not in men. TV viewing predicted weight gain in high-income women.

Conclusions: Secular increases in fast food availability and access to televised entertainment may contribute to increasing obesity rates in the United States.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Food
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Restaurants
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Television
  • United States / epidemiology