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Eur J Public Health. 2007 Feb;17(1):42-6. Epub 2006 Jun 22.

Overweight and obesity related to activities in Portuguese children, 7-9 years.

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Department of Sports, University of TrĂ¡s-os-Montes Alto Douro Vila Real, Portugal.



The purpose of the study was to explore the association among the following variables: physical activity, TV, videogames, and obesity. The study included a Portuguese random nationally representative sample of 3365 children (1610 girls and 1755 boys) 7-9 year olds.


A general questionnaire was completed by the parents of participating children to provide information about the hours spent per week watching television, computer use and electronic games, and the participation in physical education. Overweight and obesity were calculated by using the body mass index (BMI) assessment and the cut-off points for overweight (25 kg/m(2)) and obesity (30 kg/m(2)).


The data from the association between BMI and the independent variables (analysis of variance) were only significant for time playing electronic games for boys and girls (P < 0.001; P < 0.029). The association between hours of watching TV and BMI was significant only for boys (P < 0.016). The results from the logistic regression were only significant for electronic games both for boys and girls (P < 0.000; P < 0.000).


The results of this study suggest that the time spent playing electronic games is associated with obesity. Reducing childhood obesity calls for the reduction in sedentary behaviours, and the promotion of a more active lifestyle.

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