204916 Chinese couch potatoes? Trends in TV use, physical activity, and snacking behaviors among Chinese children and adolescents, 2000–2006

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 4:30 PM

Amy Shirong Lu, PhD , USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center / Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
Sarah Parvanta, MPH , Annenberg School of Communication, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Jane D. Brown, PhD , School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Shufa Du, PhD , Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Fengying Zhai , Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Institute of Nutrition and Food Safety, Beijing, China
China's overweight and obesity problems are increasing at an alarming rate, particularly among youth, due apparently to excessive caloric intake, low physical activity, and sedentary lifestyles. Increasing television (TV) viewing may also be a contributing factor.

This study examines the relationship between TV watching, physical activity and snacking behaviors among Chinese children and adolescents between 2000 and 2006. Responses from 4,643 total participants aged 6 through 18 in three waves (2000, 2004, and 2006) of the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS) were analyzed cross-sectionally to evaluate trends of weekly TV watching time, number of and duration of physical activities per week, and snacking behaviors.

Results showed that TV watching among youth increased from six hours per week in 2000 to nearly 11 hours in 2006. The average number of weekly physical activities also increased, but the duration of activity did not increase. Weekly TV watching time was negatively related to the number of physical activities engaged in by youth. This negative relationship is more pronounced over time. The instance of youth requests to their parents for snacks seen on TV also increased slightly between 2004 and 2006.

These cross-sectional trends indicate that TV watching may be one of the factors in the growing problem of obesity among children and adolescents in China, as it is associated with changes in physical activity and snacking across a large number of Chinese youth.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the changes in TV use and health behaviors, including physical activity and nutrition, among youth in China. 2. Assess the relationship between TV use and physical activity, sedentary behavior, and nutrition behaviors among Chinese children and adolescents.

Keywords: Media, Child/Adolescent

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I completed my doctorate in Journalism and Mass Communication with a certificate in Interdisciplinary Health Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2009. I am now a postdoctoral associate at USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine. My area of research includes media technology's role in health promotion, obesity prevention, and health psychology.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.