Associations among physical activity, television watching, and obesity in adult Pima Indians

Shannon J. Fitzgerald, Andrea M. Kriska, Mark A. Pereira, Max P. De Courten

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56 Scopus citations


It has been suggested that television watching and physical activity are related to obesity. This association, however, has been investigated mainly in children. This study provided the opportunity to examine the relationship between television watching, physical activity, and body mass index in adult Pima Indians, a population with a high prevalence of obesity. Hours per day of television watched, past-year physical activity levels (MET-h/wk; leisure and occupational combined) and BMI (kg · m-2) were measured in 2452 men and women subjects 21-59 yr old. In adults between the ages of 21 and 39 yr, TV and physical activity levels were negatively correlated (r = -0.11 for men and -0.10 for women). Weaker associations were found between TV and BMI (r = 0.08 for men and 0.04 for women). There were no significant relationships among these variables in older adults (40-59 yr), possibly because of low reported levels of physical activity and TV. Multiple linear regression analysis revealed that physical activity and television watching in men and activity in women were significantly related to BMI. These data suggest that increasing activity levels and decreasing the time spent in sedentary behavior such as watching television should both be considered as potential intervention strategies in obesity prevention programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)910-915
Number of pages6
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1997


  • Body mass index
  • Inactivity
  • Leisure activity
  • Occupational activity
  • Pima Indians


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