Television viewing time is associated with overweight/obesity among older adults, independent of meeting physical activity and health guidelines.J Epidemiol 2012; 22(1):50-6JE
Previous studies have shown associations of sedentary behavior with cardiovascular risk, independent of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). However, few studies have focused on older adults. This study examined the joint associations of television (TV) viewing time and MVPA with overweight/obesity among Japanese older adults.
A population-based, cross-sectional mail survey was used to collect self-reported height, weight, time spent in TV viewing, and MVPA from 1806 older adults (age: 65-74 years, men: 51.1%). Participants were classified into 4 categories according to TV viewing time (dichotomized into high and low around the median) and MVPA level (dichotomized into sufficient and insufficient by the physical activity guideline level of ≥ 150 minutes/week). Odds ratios (ORs) for overweight/obesity (body mass index ≥ 25 kg/m²) were calculated according to the 4 TV/MVPA categories, adjusting for potential confounders.
Of all participants, 20.1% were overweight/obese. The median TV viewing time (25th, 75th percentile) was 840 (420, 1400) minutes/week. As compared with the reference category (high TV/insufficient MVPA), the adjusted ORs (95% CI) of overweight/obesity were 0.93 (0.65, 1.34) for high TV/sufficient MVPA, 0.58 (0.37, 0.90) for low TV/insufficient MVPA, and 0.67 (0.47, 0.97) for low TV/sufficient MVPA.
In this sample of older adults, spending less time watching TV, a predominant sedentary behavior, was associated with lower risk of being overweight or obese, independent of meeting physical activity guidelines. Further studies using prospective and/or intervention designs are warranted to confirm the presently observed effects of sedentary behavior, independent of physical activity, on the health of older adults.