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Public Health Nutr. 2012 Apr;15(4):609-17. doi: 10.1017/S1368980011002916. Epub 2011 Nov 9.

Television viewing and variations in energy intake in adults and children in the USA.

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Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Laboratory, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, 1200 N Stonewall Ave, AHB 3068, Oklahoma City, OK 73117-1215, USA.



Examine the association between energy intake and television (TV) viewing in Americans.


Nationally representative, cross-sectional study of 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.


Total energy intake was determined by two 24 h recalls. TV viewing was reported as low (≤1 h/d), middle (2-3 h/d), and high (≥4 h/d). Multivariate linear regression models were used to analyse TV viewing and energy intake, adjusted for BMI (percentile for children 2-18 years), age, ethnicity and physical activity.


Pre-school children (2-5 years; n 1369), school-age children (6-11 years; n 1759), adolescents (12-18 years; n 3233) and adults (≥19 years; n 7850) in the USA.


There was a significant association between TV viewing and energy intake for adolescent girls (high v. low: β = 195·2, P = 0·03) and men (high v. low: β = -113·0, P = 0·02; middle v. low: β = -131·1, P = 0·0002). Mean adjusted energy intake for adolescent girls was 7801·0, 8088·5 and 8618·2 kJ/d for low, middle and high TV viewing, respectively. Mean adjusted energy intake for men was 9845·9, 9297·2 and 9372·8 kJ/d for low, middle and high TV viewing.


TV viewing was associated with energy intake in US children and adults only in 12-18-year-old girls and men. For girls, the high TV viewing category consumed more energy daily (816·3 kJ (195 kcal)) than the low category. In men, the middle and high TV viewing categories consumed less energy daily (548·4 kJ (131 kcal) and 473·0 kJ (113 kcal), respectively) than the low category. Our findings support some, but not all previous research. Future research is needed to explore this complicated relationship with rigorous measures of energy intake and TV viewing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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