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Physical activity does not attenuate the obesity risk of TV viewing in youth


Address for correspondence: Dr JP Rey-López, GENUD Research Group, C/ Corona de Aragon42, Zaragoza E-50009, Spain. E-mail:



This study aimed to examine the association of television (TV) time, the frequency of meals while watching TV and the presence of TV set in the bedroom with total and abdominal obesity and to assess whether physical activity (PA) attenuates the obesity risk of TV viewing.


Cross-sectional data were obtained from 2200 adolescents (46% boys) from 10 European cities, The Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence study, between 2006 and 2007. TV viewing, PA (by accelerometry) and body composition were measured. Binary logistic regression analyses were performed.


Even adjusting by vigorous PA, TV in the bedroom (odds ratio [OR]: 1.33, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.01–1.74) and >4 h d−1TV during week days (OR: 1.30, 95% CI, 1.02–1.67) (in boys) and eating every day with TV (OR: 1.18, 95% CI, 1.07–1.30) and >2 h d−1TV during weekend days (OR: 1.68, 95% CI, 1.25–2.26) (in girls) were significantly associated with total obesity. Likewise, in both sexes, having a TV set at bedroom was significantly associated with abdominal obesity.


Adolescents spending excessive TV time are prone to obesity independently of their PA levels. Families should put TV sets out of adolescents’ bedroom and keep TV sets off during meal times.