Postprint version. Published in Obesity, Volume 14, Issue 10, October 1, 2006, pages 1816-1824. Publisher website: http://www.nature.com. The definitive version is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1038/oby.2006.209
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Suzanne Phelan was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
Objective: To examine the role of television (TV) viewing in long-term maintenance of weight loss.
Research Methods and Procedures: All subjects (N = 1422) were enrolled in the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), a national sample of adults who have maintained a minimum weight loss of 13.6 kg for at least 1 year. Participants self-reported the average number of hours of weekly TV viewing at entry into the NWCR and at a 1-year follow-up. Cross-sectional and prospective analyses were performed to determine the frequency of TV viewing and the extent to which TV viewing was independently associated with weight regain over the 1-year of follow-up.
Results: A relatively high proportion (62.3% ) of participants reported watching 10 or fewer hours of TV per week on entry in the NWCR. More than one third of the sample (36.1% ) reported watching <5 h>/wk, whereas only 12.4% watched ≥ 21 h/wk, which contrasts markedly from the national average of 28 hours of TV viewing per week reported by American adults. Both baseline TV viewing (p ≤ 0.02) and increases in TV viewing (p ≤ 0.001) over the follow-up were significant predictors of 1-year weight regain, independent of physical activity and dietary behaviors.
Discussion: Individuals who are successful at maintaining weight loss over the long term are likely to spend a relatively minimal amount of time watching TV.