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Am J Health Promot. 1992 Jul-Aug;6(6):437-42.

Relationship between serum cholesterol levels and television viewing in 11,947 employed adults.

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Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 84602.



The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of hypercholesterolemia among high-, moderate-, and low-duration television viewers. The confounding effects of age, gender, income, body fat percentage, weekly exercise duration, and smoking were also examined.


A cross-sectional or correlational design was employed. Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel odds ratios were used to estimate risk of the television viewers regarding hypercholesterolemia.


Participants were employees of over 55 corporations that had their employees screened as part of the ongoing risk-management program of Health Advancement Services (HAS), Inc.


Subjects were 11,947 employed adults. About 85% of the subjects eligible for participation completed the screenings and were used in the study.


Serum cholesterol was assessed in a certified lab, and lifestyle information, including television viewing habits, was collected via a written questionnaire. Body fat was measured using skinfolds from three body sites.


High-duration television viewers were almost two times more likely to suffer from hypercholesterolemia as infrequent viewers, with and without control of multiple confounding factors. Moderate-duration viewers were at 1.5 times the risk of hypercholesterolemia compared to infrequent viewers. Neither television group was at greater risk of moderately elevated cholesterol levels (200-239) compared to the infrequent viewers with all of the potential confounders controlled.


Cause-and-effect conclusions are not warranted; however, this study coupled with other investigations shows that excessive television viewing may be an important lifestyle factor linked to decreased health and functioning.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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