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Nutrition. 2008 Jul-Aug;24(7-8):654-62. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2008.03.011. Epub 2008 May 9.

Television watching, videogames, and excess of body fat in Spanish adolescents: the AVENA study.

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  • 1School of Health Sciences, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain.



We assessed the individual association of sedentary behaviors with the risk of overweight and excess body fat (overfat) in adolescents.


A representative sample (1960 subjects, 1012 males, age 13-18.5 y) of Spanish adolescents was studied within the framework of the Alimentación y Valoración del Estado Nutricional de los Adolescentes (AVENA) study. Television (TV) watching, videogame and computer usage, doing homework, and the way students got to school, physical activity, and socioeconomic status were analyzed. Anthropometrics were measured to describe overweight (International Obesity Task Force cutoffs for body mass index) and overfat (body fat percentage >85th percentile).


When all subjects were considered as an entire group, the overweight risk increased by 15.8% (P < 0.05) per increasing hour of TV watching. The overweight risks decreased by 32.5% in females, 22% per increasing year of age, and 12.5% by increasing socioeconomic status by 1 U (all Ps < 0.05). The obesity risks decreased with age by 17.8% per year in males and 27.1% in females (both Ps < 0.05). The overfat risks increased by 26.8% and 9.4% per increasing hour of TV and weekend videogame usage, respectively (both Ps < 0.05). In males, the overfat risk increased by 21.5% per increasing hour in weekend videogame usage (P < 0.05). Each hour of TV use increased the overfat risks by 22% in males and 28.3% in females (both Ps < 0.05).


Time spent watching TV increased the risk of overweight and obesity in Spanish adolescents, but the effect was influenced by age, sex, and socioeconomic status. Moreover, an excess of body fat was more directly explained by the time spent watching TV and playing videogames during the weekend.

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