Online Program

Relationships between media use and obesity among youth living in high poverty settings

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 3:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

Daniel Finkelstein, PhD, Health and Human Development Division, Education Development Center, Inc., Waltham, MA
Susana Valverde, B.A., Health and Human Development Division, Education Development Center, Waltham, MA
Athi Myint-U, EdM, Health and Human Development Programs, Education Development Center, Waltham, MA
Deborah McLean Leow, Health and Human Development Division, Education Development Center, Inc., Waltham, MA
Mary Kay Landon, PhD, Health and Human Division Department, Education Development Center, Waltham, MA
Lydia O'Donnell, EdD, Health and Human Development Division, Education Development Center, Inc., Waltham, MA
Increases in youth screen time have occurred across the socioeconomic spectrum as new digital media and mobile communication devices have become widely available. Because media use frequently involves sedentary activity, this trend has important health implications, particularly in poor communities where obesity rates are higher and access to safe recreational opportunities is limited. In the Healthy Futures study, surveys were conducted among 9th and 10th graders in high poverty sections of New York City (n=778); about 87% were Black. Items assessed height and weight; daily TV/video viewing; and past day digital media use (computer games, texting, social media, on-line videos, downloading music). Self-reported height and weight were used to compute age- and sex-adjusted body mass index (BMI). Multivariate analyses examined the association between media use and obesity (BMI≥ 95th percentile), controlling for demographic, physical activity, and dietary variables. Over half of participants (52%) reported watching TV/videos on a television or computer for 4+ hours per day. During the past day, 41% reported using social media websites for 3+ hours and 45% reported texting/chatting on-line for 3+ hours. About 14% of participants were obese. In multivariate analyses, youth reporting high levels of on-line media use (≥1 hour with at least 3 sources) were twice as likely to be obese than those who did not (AOR=2.04, 95% CI: 1.14-3.65). In this sample of teens living in low-income communities, youth spent a significant portion of their day using on-line media, and this was associated with being obese.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe traditional and on-line media use among a sample of early adolescents living in high poverty settings. Discuss the relationship between on-line media use and adolescent obesity. Identify strategies that parents might use to control youth’s media use.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the field supervisor for the randomized trial discussed in this presentation. I have over 15 years experience in public health and the development and evaluation of behavioral interventions to reduce risk behaviors among youth and adults.
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.