Television Use and Snacking Behaviors Among Children and Adolescents in China

Sarah A. Parvanta*, Jane D. Brown, Shufa Du, Catherine R. Zimmer, Xinshu ZHAO, Fengying Zhai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Television (TV) use has been linked with poor eating behaviors and obesity in young people. This study examines the association between TV watching and paying attention to TV commercials with buying and requesting snacks seen on commercials, and eating snacks while watching TV among youth in China. Methods: Data from 1,552 participants (ages 6-17.99) in the 2004 China Health and Nutrition Survey were analyzed cross-sectionally. The 2004 China Health and Nutrition Survey was conducted in nine Chinese provinces. Results: Most respondents (92.2%) reported watching TV; on average children (6-11.99 years old) and adolescents (12-17.99 years old) watched TV for 9-10 hours per week. Nearly half (42.9%) of all the respondents said they "sometimes" or "often" paid attention to TV commercials. Respondents who reported paying attention to commercials had higher odds of requesting snacks (odds ratio [OR] = 3.43; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.55-4.60) and buying snacks (OR = 2.73; 95% CI = 2.17-3.43) seen on TV, and eating snacks while watching TV (OR = 1.60; 95% CI = 1.23-2.07) than those who did not pay attention. However, frequency of watching TV was not significantly related to snacking. Conclusion: Attention to TV commercials for snack foods may be one of the factors affecting the increase in obesity among children and adolescents in China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-345
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

User-Defined Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Children
  • China
  • Commercials
  • Nutrition
  • Snacking
  • Television
  • TV


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