Watching TV in Childhood Linked to Metabolic Syndrome at 45 Years

In HealthDay News
by Healthday

Association persists after adjustment for sex, socioeconomic status, BMI, and adult television viewing

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 24, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Time spent watching television in childhood and adolescence is associated with metabolic syndrome at age 45 years, according to a study published online July 24 in Pediatrics.

Nathan MacDonell and Robert J. Hancox, M.D., from the Dunedin School of Medicine at the University of Otago in New Zealand, studied a population-based birth cohort born in 1972 and 1973. Parent- and self-reported weekday television viewing times were recorded from ages 5 to 32 years. The primary outcome was metabolic syndrome, assessed at age 45 years. Overall, 870 of 997 surviving participants had reported television viewing time and metabolic syndrome data available.

The researchers observed an association for mean television viewing time between ages 5 and 15 years with metabolic syndrome at age 45 years. After adjustment for sex, socioeconomic status, and body mass index (BMI) at age 5 years, this association persisted (odds ratio, 1.30); after further adjustment for adult television viewing, the association remained significant (odds ratio, 1.26). There was also an association seen for childhood television viewing with lower cardiorespiratory fitness and higher BMI at age 45 years.

“This adds further evidence of the adverse health effects of television viewing across the life course,” the authors write. “Interventions to reduce the time that children and young people spend in screen-based activities may have substantial long-lasting benefits for health.”

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