The Influence of Weight Status on the Link between Television Viewing and Food Intake in Children

by Michael M. Borghese

Institution: University of Ottawa
Year: 2014
Keywords: Sedentary Behaviour; Screen Time; Childhood Obesity; Diet; Physical Activity; Television viewing; Observational Study; Cross-sectional Study
Record ID: 2024693
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/31071


Recent research suggests that sedentary behaviours have detrimental effects on the health and well-being of children, including effects on obesity. Specifically, television viewing is consistently associated with childhood obesity. Two explanations have been proposed: 1) reduced energy expenditure, and 2) increased food intake. However, it has been suggested that the association between television viewing and childhood obesity may be better explained by an increase in energy intake than by a reduction in energy expenditure. To date, children of different weight status have not been compared in their dietary patterns in front of the television, and it is not known if total sedentary time is linked with food intake in children. The objectives of this thesis are: 1) to determine if obese children consume food more frequently while watching television than normal weight children, and 2) to examine which of television viewing or total sedentary time better predicts dietary patterns in children. Overall, our results re-affirm the notion that television viewing is associated with obesity, although physical activity plays a role in this association. Also, children who are obese consume fast food and fruits/vegetables more frequently during television watching than normal weight children. Furthermore, television viewing appears to be a better predictor of dietary patterns in children than overall sedentary time. Globally, these results provide evidence for the deleterious effects of television viewing on children’s dietary patterns and justification for future intervention studies designed to reduce television viewing in children with obesity.