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Bronwyn Kay Clark, Takemi Sugiyama, Genevieve N. Healy, Jo Salmon, David W. Dunstan, Jonathan E. Shaw, Paul Z. Zimmet and Neville Owen

Background:

Sedentary behaviors, particularly television viewing (TV) time, are associated with adverse health outcomes in adults, independent of physical activity levels. These associations are stronger and more consistent for women than for men.

Methods:

Multivariate regression models examined the sociodemographic correlates of 2 categories of TV time (≥2 hours/day and ≥4 hours/day); in a large, population-based sample of Australian adults (4950 men, 6001 women; mean age 48.1 years, range 25–91) who participated in the 1999/2000 Australian Diabetes, Obesity, and Lifestyle (AusDiab) study.

Results:

Some 46% of men and 40% of women watched ≥ 2 hours TV/day; 9% and 6% respectively watched ≥ 4 hours/day. For both men and women, ≥2 hours TV/day was associated with less than tertiary education, living outside of state capital cities, and having no paid employment. For women, mid and older age (45−64 and 65+) were also significant correlates of ≥2 hours TV/day. Similar patterns of association were observed in those viewing ≥4 hours/day.

Conclusions:

Prolonged TV time is associated with indices of social disadvantage and older age. These findings can inform the understanding of potential contextual influences and guide preventive initiatives.