Scottish Cancer Prevention Network

Television Viewing – Think Twice


Nov 13

A recent study by Heinonen investigated the association between different sedentary behaviours and obesity in an adult Finnish population. As a secondary analysis of a large prospective cohort study, the authors were able to control for a wide range of possible confounders. Results showed that television viewing was most consistently associated with a raised BMI and waist circumference but that this was partly mediated by other lifestyle choices while watching television such as unhealthy snack consumption.
Those who watched television for more than 3 hours per day were found to be twice as likely to be overweight or obese when compared to those who watched for less than 1 hour. This evidence reinforces the message that television watching is a modifiable lifestyle choice, which could influence the likelihood of becoming overweight or obese.

Heinonen I, Helajärvi H, Pahkala K, et al. Sedentary behaviours and obesity in adults: the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study. BMJ Open 2013;3:e002901. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-002901 Available at

This article was originally published in the SCPN Newsletter, Volume 4, Issue 4.
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