Effect of media use on adolescent body weight

Academic Article


  • Introduction Adolescents spend a substantial amount of time consuming media, including watching television, playing video games, and using electronic devices to access the internet. We examined the relationship between prolonged media use on screen devices and its potential association with obesity through several mechanisms. Methods We used data from 659,288 eighth and eleventh grade students who participated in the 2015-2016 School Physical Activity and Nutrition (SPAN) survey in Texas to examine the associations between hours of media use per day and 3 behaviors related to obesity: timing of last food intake, unhealthy eating behavior, and sleep hours. Also, mediation analyses were conducted to examine the pathways between hours of media use and body mass index (BMI). Results Compared with adolescents who used media 2 hours or less per day, those who used media 6 hours or more had higher odds of nighttime eating (odds ratio [OR], 3.16; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.76-5.66) and inadequate sleep (OR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.05-2.36) and a higher coefficient for Unhealthy Eating Index score (3.87; 95% CI, 1.3-6.37). Mediation analysis demonstrated that for males sleep hours and timing of last food intake mediated the pathway between hours of media use and BMI. For females, unhealthy eating behavior mediated this pathway. Conclusion Adolescents who used electronic media 6 or more hours at night had higher odds of unhealthy eating behavior and inadequate sleep hours than those with 2 hours' use or less. Attention to behaviors associated with adolescents' prolonged media use is needed to reduce risk of obesity.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cha EM; Hoelscher DM; Ranjit N; Chen B; Gabriel KP; Kelder S; Saxton DL
  • Volume

  • 15
  • Issue

  • 11