Few investigations have assessed in adolescent girls the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between elevated exposure to electronic media (EM) and activity-related outcomes such as compliance with physical activity (PA) standards or cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF).
Four-hundred thirty-seven white and African American girls were assessed at the 8th, 9th, and 12th grades. PA and EM (TV/video watching, electronic games, Internet use) were self-reported, and CRF was estimated using a cycle-ergometer test. Hi EM exposure was defined as ≥four 30-minute blocks/d.
8th-, 9th-, and 12th-grade girls in the Hi EM group showed lower compliance with PA standards and had lower CRF than the Low EM group (P ≤ .03). Girls reporting Hi EM exposure at 8th and 9th grades had lower vigorous PA and CRF levels at 12th grade than girls reporting less EM exposure (P ≤ .03).
Girls reporting exposure to EM for 2 or more hours per day are more likely to exhibit and maintain low PA and CRF levels throughout adolescence. These results enhance the scientific basis for current public health recommendations to limit adolescent girls’ daily exposure to television, electronic games, and Internet use to a combined maximum of 2 hours.
Lobelo, Dowda, and Pate are with the Dept of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208. Pfeiffer is with the Dept of Kinesiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.