Food and drink intake during television viewing in adolescents: the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence (HELENA) study

Juan Pablo Rey-López, German Vicente-Rodríguez, Judith Répásy, Maria Isabel Mesana, Jonatan R Ruiz, Francisco B Ortega, Anthony Kafatos, Inge Huybrechts, Magdalena Cuenca-García, J Francisco León, Marcela González-Gross, Michael Sjöström, Ilse de Bourdeaudhuij, Luis A Moreno
Public Health Nutrition 2011, 14 (9): 1563-9

OBJECTIVE: To compare food consumption during television (TV) viewing among adolescents who watched >2 h/d v. ≤2 h/d; and to examine the association between sociodemographic variables (age, gender and socio-economic status (SES)) and the consumption of energy-dense foods and drinks during TV viewing.

DESIGN: The data are part of the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence (HELENA) cross-sectional survey. Data on time watching TV, types of foods and drinks consuming during TV viewing and parental SES (parental education, parental occupation and family affluence) were measured by questionnaires completed by adolescents. Binary logistic regression tested the association between energy-dense foods and drinks and (i) sociodemographic variables and (ii) TV time.

SETTING: Ghent (Belgium), Heraklion (Greece), Pecs (Hungary) and Zaragoza (Spain).

SUBJECTS: Girls (n 699) and boys (n 637) aged 12·5-17·5 years.

RESULTS: Boys reported more frequent consumption of beer and soft drinks whereas girls selected more fruit juice, water, herbal infusions and sweets (all P ≤ 0·05). Watching TV for >2 h/d was associated with the consumption of energy-dense foods and drinks. Girls whose mothers achieved the lowest education level had an adjusted OR of 3·22 (95 % CI 1·81, 5·72) for the consumption of energy-dense drinks during TV viewing v. those whose mothers had the highest educational level.

CONCLUSIONS: Excessive TV watching may favour concurrent consumption of energy-dense snacks and beverages. Adolescents from low-SES families are more likely to consume unhealthy drinks while watching TV.

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