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Association between television viewing frequency and overweight/obesity among reproductive age women: Cross-sectional evidence from South Africa Demographic and Health Survey 2016
Authors: Mohammad Rashidul Hashan, Shams Shabab Haider, Rejwana Haque Pial, Anwar Hossain, Manzoor-E-Elahee, and Rajat Das Gupta
Source: Obesity Medicine, Volume 25; DOI:
Topic(s): Mass media
Women's health
Country: Africa
  South Africa
Published: AUG 2021
Abstract: Background and aims: The effect of television viewing frequency on overweight and obesity in the South African context is unexplored. The aim is to determine the association between television viewing time and overweight and obesity among reproductive age (15–49 years) women in South Africa. Method: A secondary analysis was performed on a total weighted sample of 3063 women of reproductive age from the South Africa Demographic and Health Survey 2016. Multivariable ordered logistic regression analysis was conducted with the primary outcome of body mass index as recommended by the World Health Organization. The main explanatory variable was television viewing time as per frequency among three groups: a) not at all, b) less than once a week, c) at least once a week. Results: The prevalence of overweight and obesity was 26.1 % and 35.9 %, respectively. In rural areas, viewing television less than once a week had 70 % higher odds [AOR: 1.7, 95 % CI: 1.1–2.4] and viewing television at least once a week had 40 % higher odds [AOR: 1.4, 95 % CI: 1.1–1.8] to be overweight or obese than those who did not watch television at all. Frequency of television viewing had no significant association with overweight and obesity in urban areas. Conclusions: It is recommended that interventions focusing on tackling overweight and obesity in South Africa need to highlight prevalent public awareness programs to incorporate behavioral change communication information to reform TV-viewing time and motivate less sedentary leisure activities.