Open Access Open Badges Research article

Excessive TV viewing and cardiovascular disease risk factors in adolescents. The AVENA cross-sectional study

David Martinez-Gomez12, J Pablo Rey-López3, Palma Chillón4, Sonia Gómez-Martínez1, Germán Vicente-Rodríguez3, Miguel Martín-Matillas4, Miguel Garcia-Fuentes5, Manuel Delgado4, Luis A Moreno3, Oscar L Veiga2, Joey C Eisenmann6, Ascension Marcos1* and AVENA Study Group

Author Affiliations

1 Immunonutrition Research Group, Department of Metabolism and Nutrition, Instituto del Frio, Institute of Food Science, Technology and Nutrition (ICTAN), Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Madrid, Spain

2 Department of Physical Education, Sport and Human Movement, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain

3 School of Health Sciences, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain

4 Department of Physical Education and Sport, School of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, University of Granada, Granada, Spain

5 Department of Pediatrics, University of Cantabria, Santander, Spain

6 Department of Kinesiology and Pediatrics & Human Development, East Lansing, MI, USA

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:274  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-274

Published: 25 May 2010



Excessive television (TV) viewing might play an important role in the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The aim of this study was to examine the independent associations between TV viewing and CVD risk factors in adolescents.


A sample of 425 adolescents, aged 13- to 18.5-year-old, was included in this study. Body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), glucose, total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, apolipoprotein (apo) A-1, apo B-100, and lipoprotein(a) levels were determined. A composite CVD risk score was computed based on age-, sex-, sexual maturation- and race-standardized triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and glucose. TV viewing was self-reported.


Two hundred and twenty-five adolescents (53%) who spent >3 hrs/day watching TV were considered as the "high TV viewing" group. Ninety-nine adolescents (23%) from the total sample were classified as overweight according to International age- and sex-specific BMI values. The high TV viewing group had significantly less favorable values of HDL-cholesterol, glucose, apo A1 and CVD score, independent of age, sex, sexual maturation, race and weight status. There was a significant interaction effect of TV viewing × weight status (P = 0.002) on WC, and the negative influence of TV viewing on WC persisted in the overweight group (P = 0.031) but was attenuated in non-overweight adolescents (P > 0.05).


Excessive TV viewing seems to be related to an unfavorable CVD risk factors profile in adolescence. Reducing TV viewing in overweight adolescents might be beneficial to decrease abdominal body fat.