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Public Health Nutr. 2014 Feb;17(2):317-23. doi: 10.1017/S1368980012005204. Epub 2012 Nov 30.

Adolescent television viewing and unhealthy snack food consumption: the mediating role of home availability of unhealthy snack foods.

Author information

  • 11 School of Sport, Exercise & Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, UK.
  • 23 Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia.
  • 32 Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia.



To examine whether home availability of energy-dense snack foods mediates the association between television (TV) viewing and energy-dense snack consumption among adolescents.




Secondary schools in Victoria, Australia.


Adolescents (n 2984) from Years 7 and 9 of secondary school completed a web-based survey, between September 2004 and July 2005, assessing their energy-dense snack food consumption, school-day and weekend-day TV viewing and home availability of energy-dense snack foods.


School-day and weekend-day TV viewing were positively associated with energy-dense snack consumption among adolescent boys (β = 0·003, P < 0·001) and girls (β = 0·03, P < 0·001). Furthermore, TV viewing (school day and weekend day) were positively associated with home availability of energy-dense snack foods among adolescent boys and girls and home availability of energy-dense snack foods was positively associated with energy-dense snack food consumption among boys (β = 0·26, P < 0·001) and girls (β = 0·28, P < 0·001). Home availability partly mediated the association between TV viewing and energy-dense snack consumption.


The results of the present study suggest that TV viewing has a significant role to play in adolescent unhealthy eating behaviours. Future research should assess the efficacy of methods to reduce adolescent energy-dense snack food consumption by targeting parents to reduce home availability of energy-dense foods and by reducing TV viewing behaviours of adolescents.

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