Television Watching and Soft Drink Consumption: Associations With Obesity in 11- to 13-Year-Old Schoolchildren | Media and Youth | JAMA Pediatrics | JAMA Network
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Article
September 2003

Television Watching and Soft Drink Consumption: Associations With Obesity in 11- to 13-Year-Old Schoolchildren

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Health Promotion and Education, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, Calif (Drs Giammattei, Blix, and Marshak); and General Clinical Research, Sansum Medical Research Institute, Santa Barbara, Calif (Drs Giammattei, Wollitzer, and Pettitt). Dr Blix is deceased.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003;157(9):882-886. doi:10.1001/archpedi.157.9.882
Abstract

Objectives  To determine the prevalence of obesity among sixth- and seventh-grade students in a school-based setting, and to identify lifestyle parameters associated with obesity.

Methods  Sixth- and seventh-grade students (n = 385, 186 boys and 199 girls) from 3 schools participated in a school-based screening study, and 319 completed a short questionnaire. Height and weight were measured, and body fat as a percentage of body weight was obtained using a Tanita bioelectrical impedance scale.

Results  Overall, 35.3% of students had a body mass index (BMI; calculated as the weight in kilograms divided by the height in meters squared) at or above the 85th percentile, and half these students (17.4%) had a BMI at or above the 95th percentile. Rates were higher among Latino and lower among Asian than non-Hispanic white students. Significant associations were found between BMI and hours of television watched per evening and daily soft drink consumption. The mean (SE) BMI z score for those watching less than 2 hours per night (0.34 [0.09]) was lower than for those watching 2 or more hours per night (0.82 [0.08]; P<.001). The mean (SE) BMI z score for those consuming less than 3 soft drinks per day (0.51 [0.07]) was lower than for those consuming 3 or more soft drinks per day (1.02 [0.13]; P = .003). Latino students watched more television (2.4 hours per night) than did non-Hispanic white or Asian students (1.3 hours per night; P<.001 for each) and consumed more soft drinks (1.6 per day) than non-Hispanic white students (1.1 per day; P = .004) or Asian students (0.7 per day; P<.001).

Conclusions  Time spent watching television and the number of soft drinks consumed were significantly associated with obesity. Latinos spent more time watching television and consumed more soft drinks than did non-Hispanic white or Asian students. These findings will be beneficial in developing preventive measures for these children.

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