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J Sch Health. 2002 Dec;72(10):413-21.

Television viewing and its associations with overweight, sedentary lifestyle, and insufficient consumption of fruits and vegetables among US high school students: differences by race, ethnicity, and gender.

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Division of Adolescent and School Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway, NE, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.


Television (TV) viewing has been associated with overweight, decreased physical activity, and unhealthy dietary behavior among children and adolescents, and may represent a modifiable cause of childhood obesity. This study examined race, ethnic, and gender-specific differences in these associations among high school students in the United States. The study analyzed data from the 1999 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a representative sample (N = 15,349) of US high school students. Logistic regression tested for significant associations. TV viewing on an average school day exceeded 2 hours/day among 43% of students; it was greater among Black (74%) and Hispanic (52%) than White (34%) students. Overall, 11% of students were overweight, 31% of students were sedentary (i.e., did not participate in moderate or vigorous physical activity at recommended levels), and 76% ate less than five servings/day of fruits and vegetables. Watching TV more than 2 hours/day was associated with being overweight, being sedentary, and eating insufficient fruits and vegetables among White females, and with being overweight among Hispanic females. No significant associations were found among Black females. TV viewing was associated with being overweight and eating insufficient fruits and vegetables among White males. No significant associations were found among Hispanic males. Among Black males, TV viewing was associated with greater participation in physical activity. These findings suggest the presence of cultural factors to consider when developing interventions to promote physical activity, healthy eating, and healthy weight through reduced TV viewing among adolescents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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