The relationship between life-style and cardio-metabolic risk indicators in children: the importance of screen time


  • Correction after online publication 15/12/2010: Author name changed from G Olsson to SJG Olsson

YS Danielsen, University of Bergen, Faculty of Psychology, Christiesgt.12, PO Box 7800, 5020 Bergen, Norway. Tel: +004755582498 | Fax: +004755583190 | Email:


Aims:  To examine differences between children with obesity and normal weight children (aged 7–13 years) in terms of physical activity, screen time, food intake and blood parameters indicative of cardio-metabolic risk. Further, to explore the relationship between physical activity, screen time and food intake with cardio-metabolic parameters.

Methods:  Forty-three children with obesity were compared with 43 normal weight peers. Physical activity was monitored by accelerometers and screen time and food intake by diaries. Blood parameters indicative of cardio-metabolic risk were analysed.

Results:  The group of children with obesity had significantly less vigorous activity (p = 0.013), more daily screen time (p = 0.004) and consumed more fat (p = 0.04) than the group of normal weight children. The former group also demonstrated higher values of triglycerides (p = 0.001), HbA1c (p = 0.009), C-peptide (p = 0.001), had a higher HOMA-R score (p = 0.001), and lower levels of HDL (p = 0.001). After controlling for weight category, regression analyses revealed that screen time was significantly and positively related to the HOMA-R score and C-peptide levels independent of physical activity and intake of fat and sugar.

Conclusions:  The results indicate that screen time is an important behavioural factor related to obesity and cardio-metabolic risk indicators in children.