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Original Articles

Television viewing and obesity among Iranian children: the importance of economic status and residential area

Author:

Gholamreza Veghari

Ischaemic Disorders Research Centre, Golestan University of Medical Sciences, Gorgan, Iran, IR
About Gholamreza

Assistant Professor of Nutrition

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Abstract

Background: Obesity is a health problem among adolescents worldwide and television (TV) viewing could promote it in several ways. 

Objective: To determine the association between time spent on TV viewing and obesity considering economic status and residential area in primary schoolchildren in the north of Iran.

Method: A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out on primary schoolchildren from 112 schools. Schools and students were chosen by cluster sampling. All children completed a questionnaire containing questions on the socio-economic condition. Overweight and obesity were classified based on the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) values with body mass index (BMI) in excess of the 85th and 95th percentiles, respectively. Daily time spent on TV viewing was classified into 3 groups: less than 1 hour or no watching, 1-2 hours and 3 hours or over. SPSS 16.0 software was used for statistical data analysis.

Results: Study population comprised 7,453 primary schoolchildren (urban 3,662, rural 3,791). Of the subjects 52.7% viewed TV for 3 hours or more. In boys, prevalence of obesity had a positive association with TV viewing time but in girls, it was not a steady trend. In urban areas, time spent on TV viewing was in line with obesity but wasting significantly decreased with more time spent on TV viewing (P=0.001). This association was not seen in rural children. In the poor economic group, prevalence of obesity significantly decreased with more time spent on TV viewing (P=0.041) but this trend was not found in the moderate economic group. In the good economic group, the association between obesity and time spent on the TV viewing was not significant.

Conclusion: About half of Iranian northern schoolchildren spent 3 hours or more daily viewing TV. A positive association between time spent on TV viewing and obesity was seen in high income families and in urban areas.

Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, 2015; 44(3): 147-152

How to Cite: Veghari, G., 2015. Television viewing and obesity among Iranian children: the importance of economic status and residential area. Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, 44(3), pp.147–152. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljch.v44i3.8011
Published on 12 Sep 2015.
Peer Reviewed

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