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Adolescent television viewing and unhealthy snack food consumption: the mediating role of home availability of unhealthy snack foods

  • Natalie Pearson (a1) (a2), Stuart JH Biddle (a1), Lauren Williams (a3), Anthony Worsley (a2), David Crawford (a2) and Kylie Ball (a2)...
Abstract
Abstract Objective

To examine whether home availability of energy-dense snack foods mediates the association between television (TV) viewing and energy-dense snack consumption among adolescents.

Design

Cross-sectional.

Setting

Secondary schools in Victoria, Australia.

Subjects

Adolescents (n 2984) from Years 7 and 9 of secondary school completed a web-based survey, between September 2004 and July 2005, assessing their energy-dense snack food consumption, school-day and weekend-day TV viewing and home availability of energy-dense snack foods.

Results

School-day and weekend-day TV viewing were positively associated with energy-dense snack consumption among adolescent boys (β = 0·003, P < 0·001) and girls (β = 0·03, P < 0·001). Furthermore, TV viewing (school day and weekend day) were positively associated with home availability of energy-dense snack foods among adolescent boys and girls and home availability of energy-dense snack foods was positively associated with energy-dense snack food consumption among boys (β = 0·26, P < 0·001) and girls (β = 0·28, P < 0·001). Home availability partly mediated the association between TV viewing and energy-dense snack consumption.

Conclusions

The results of the present study suggest that TV viewing has a significant role to play in adolescent unhealthy eating behaviours. Future research should assess the efficacy of methods to reduce adolescent energy-dense snack food consumption by targeting parents to reduce home availability of energy-dense foods and by reducing TV viewing behaviours of adolescents.

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Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Email n.l.pearson@lboro.ac.uk
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Public Health Nutrition
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