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Television viewing over the life course and the metabolic syndrome in mid-adulthood: a longitudinal population-based study
  1. Patrik Wennberg1,
  2. Per E Gustafsson1,
  3. Bethany Howard2,3,
  4. Maria Wennberg1,
  5. Anne Hammarström1
  1. 1Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
  2. 2Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Australia
  3. 3School of Public Health & Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Patrik Wennberg, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine, Umeå University, SE-901 85 Umeå, Sweden; patrik.wennberg{at}fammed.umu.se

Abstract

Background Accumulating evidence suggests that television (TV) viewing is associated with cardio-metabolic risk, but little is known about how this relationship unfolds over the life course. This study employs a life course epidemiological framework by examining the potential cumulative effect of frequent TV viewing during adolescence and young adulthood on the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in mid-adulthood; and whether TV viewing during adolescence constitutes a sensitive period for the development of the metabolic syndrome in mid-adulthood.

Methods We used data from the Northern Swedish Cohort, a nationally representative cohort comprising 855 participants (80% of the baseline sample). Data were collected during 1981–2008 and analysed in 2013. Logistic regression was applied to examine the associations between TV viewing at ages 16, 21 and 30 years, and the metabolic syndrome at age 43 years.

Results Cumulative frequent TV viewing was associated with subsequent prevalence of the metabolic syndrome after adjustment for potential confounders (p for trend=0.026). Watching ‘several shows a day’ compared with ‘one show/week’ or less at age 16 years was associated with the metabolic syndrome at age 43 years after adjustment for later exposure (TV viewing at ages 21 and 30 years) and potential confounders (OR 1.86, 95% CI 1.06 to 3.27).

Conclusions The number of life periods of frequent TV viewing during adolescence and early adulthood influenced cardio-metabolic risk in mid-adulthood in a dose-dependent manner, corresponding to a cumulative risk life course model. Additionally, TV viewing in adolescence may constitute a sensitive period for the metabolic syndrome in mid-adulthood.

  • Physical Activity
  • Life course epidemiology
  • Lifecourse / Childhood Circumstances

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