Child Obes. 2018 Sep 29. doi: 10.1089/chi.2018.0156.
The prevalence of severe obesity and electronic game use among youth has increased over time.
We administered a survey assessing gaming and psycho-demographic characteristics to youth aged 11-17 attending five weight management programs. We conducted chi-square and logistic regression analyses to describe the association between class 3 severe obesity and gaming characteristics.
Four hundred twelve youth (51% female, 26% Black, 25% Hispanic, 43% White, and 44% with class 3 severe obesity) completed the survey. There was a stepwise relationship between time spent gaming and class 3 severe obesity, with 28% of those playing 2 to <4 hours a day, 48% of those playing 4 to <6 hours a day, and 56% of those playing ≥6 hours a day having class 3 severe obesity (p = 0.002). Compared to youth without class 3 severe obesity, youth with class 3 severe obesity were more likely to have a TV in the bedroom (76% vs. 63%, p = 0.004) and play games on a console (39% vs. 27%, p = 0.03) and were less likely to report parental limit setting on type of games played (7% vs. 16%, p = 0.006). Youth who played games ≥4 hours a day were 1.94 times (95% confidence interval 1.27-3.00) more likely to have class 3 severe obesity than those who played <4 hours a day, after adjustment for demographic, behavioral, and academic variables.
Our study demonstrates a clear association between gaming characteristics, especially time spent gaming, and severe obesity in youth. Further research testing family-based interventions that target gaming behaviors in youth are needed.
KEYWORDS: parenting; pediatric obesity; screen time; sedentary behavior; severe obesity; video game