TV viewing and physical inactivity independently associated with metabolic risk in children

December 11, 2006

Watching TV and level of activity in children appear to be associated independently of each other with risk factors that may influence the chance that children have of developing metabolic diseases (e.g., diabetes) and cardiovascular diseases in later life.

An ongoing study, the European Youth Heart Study is examining the nature, strength, and interactions between personal, environmental, and lifestyle influences on later risk of these diseases. As part of this study, European researchers questioned 1,921 children from three regions in Portugal, Estonia and Denmark on the hours of TV viewed and measured their activity over a 4 day period. They also measured six metabolic-risk factors (body fatness, blood pressure, fasting triglycerides, inverted high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, glucose, and insulin levels and calculated a metabolic risk score for each child based on these risk factors.

The researchers showed that there was a positive association between TV viewing and adiposity (fatness), but not with the overall risk score. However, the physical activity of the children was independently and inversely associated with systolic and diastolic blood pressure, fasting glucose, insulin, triglycerides and with the overall risk score, independently of obesity and other factors.

TV viewing has previously been linked to metabolic-risk factors in youth. However, it had been unclear whether this association was independent of physical activity and obesity. This study showed that TV viewing and physical activity should be considered as separate entities as they are differently associated with adiposity and metabolic risk. The authors conclude that "preventive action against metabolic risk in children may need to target TV viewing and physical activity separately." These results will be presented during the International Diabetes Federation 19th International meeting in Cape Town on Thursday the 7th December.

In a related Perspective article, Andrew Prentice and Susan Jebb, who were not involved in the study, discuss further the implications of these findings.
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Citation: Ekelund U, Brage S, Froberg K, Harro M, Anderssen SA, et al. (2006) TV viewing and physical activity are independently associated with metabolic risk in children: The European youth heart study. PLoS Med 3(12): e488.

PLEASE ADD THE LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT: http://dx.doi/org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030488

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-03-12-ekelund.pdf

Related image for press use: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-03-12-ekelund.jpg

CONTACT:
Ulf Ekelund
MRC Epidemiology Unit
Elsie Widdowson Laboratory
Fulbourn Road
Cambridge, Cambs CB1 9NL
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 1223 741295
+44 (0) 7756 710429 (cell)
+44 (0) 1223 330316 (fax)
ulf.ekelund@mrc-epid.cam.ac.uk

Related PLoS Medicine Perspectives article:

Citation: Prentice A, Jebb S (2006) TV and inactivity are separate contributors to metabolic risk factors in children. PLoS Med 3(12): e481.

PLEASE ADD THE LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030481

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-03-12-prentice.pdf

CONTACT:
Andrew Prentice
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
MRC International Nutrition Group
+44 (0)20 7958 8125
andrew.prentice@lshtm.ac.uk

About PLoS Medicine

PLoS Medicine is an open access, freely available international medical journal. It publishes original research that enhances our understanding of human health and disease, together with commentary and analysis of important global health issues. For more information, visit http://www.plosmedicine.org

About the Public Library of Science

The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. For more information, visit http://www.plos.org

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