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Excessive recreational computer use and food consumption behaviour among adolescents

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Author(s): Shi Lu | Mao Yuping

Journal: The Italian Journal of Pediatrics
ISSN 1720-8424

Volume: 36;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 52;
Date: 2010;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Abstract Introduction Using the 2005 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) data, we explore the association between excessive recreational computer use and specific food consumption behavior among California's adolescents aged 12-17. Method The adolescent component of CHIS 2005 measured the respondents' average number of hours spent on viewing TV on a weekday, the average number of hours spent on viewing TV on a weekend day, the average number of hours spent on playing with a computer on a weekday, and the average number of hours spent on playing with computers on a weekend day. We recode these four continuous variables into four variables of "excessive media use," and define more than three hours of using a medium per day as "excessive." These four variables are then used in logistic regressions to predict different food consumption behaviors on the previous day: having fast food, eating sugary food more than once, drinking sugary drinks more than once, and eating more than five servings of fruits and vegetables. We use the following variables as covariates in the logistic regressions: age, gender, race/ethnicity, parental education, household poverty status, whether born in the U.S., and whether living with two parents. Results Having fast food on the previous day is associated with excessive weekday TV viewing (O.R. = 1.38, p < 0.01). Having sugary food more than once is associated with excessive weekend TV viewing (O.R. = 1.50, p < 0.001). Having sugary drinks more than once is associated with excessive weekday TV viewing (O.R. = 1.41, p < 0.01), excessive weekday recreational computer use (O.R. = 1.38, p < 0.05), and excessive weekend TV viewing (O.R. = 1.43, p < 0.001). Finally, having more than five servings of fruits and vegetables on the previous day is negatively associated with all four media use variables: excessive weekday TV viewing (O.R. = 0.64, p < 0.001), excessive weekday recreational computer use (O.R. = 0.68, p < 0.01), excessive weekend TV viewing (O.R. = 0.80, p < 0.05), and excessive weekend recreational computer use (O.R. = 0.78, p < 0.05). Conclusion Excessive recreational computer use independently predicts undesirable eating behaviors that could lead to overweight and obesity. Preventive measures ranging from parental/youth counseling to content regulations might be addressing the potential undesirable influence from excessive computer use on eating behaviors among children and adolescents.
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