(HealthDay News) – Among US adolescents, television viewing is associated with unhealthy eating behaviors.
Leah M. Lipsky, PhD, MHS, and Ronald J. Iannotti, PhD, from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, MD, conducted a cross-sectional survey of 12,642 students in grades 5–10 to examine the association between television viewing and eating behaviors.
The researchers found that, after adjusting for socioeconomic variables, computer use, and physical activity, there was an inverse correlation between television viewing and intake of fruit (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.92) and vegetables (aOR, 0.95; 95% confidence interval, 0.91–1). There was a significant, positive correlation between television viewing and candy consumption (aOR, 1.18), fast food intake (aOR, 1.14), and skipping breakfast (aOR, 1.06). Independent of television viewing, snacking while watching television correlated with increased intake of fruit (aOR, 1.06), candy (aOR, 1.2), soda (aOR, 1.15), and fast food (aOR, 1.09). The associations between television viewing and soda/fast food intake and skipping breakfast were modified by age and race/ethnicity.
“Television viewing is related to a cluster of unhealthy eating behaviors in US adolescents after controlling for television snacking, computer snacking, socioeconomic variables, computer use, and physical activity,” the authors write. “Relationships of television viewing with eating behaviors were modified by age and race/ethnicity, suggesting the importance of cultural or social factors.”