Friday, September 28, 2007

Watching TV, using computers, body weight and promotion of healthy lifestyles

More and more studies point out that watching TV, using your computer and other sedentary behaviors are associated with being overweight or obese (see and for some recent examples). The strongest evidence is for TV screen time. Apart from being physically inactive while watching TV, TV and snacking go well together, and watching TV also mean being exposed to junk food advertising. Although the evidence for an association between computer screen time and overweight is less consistent, similar arguments are now valid for computer use. Personal computers used intensively for chatting, surfing the internet etc., which also comes with more and more on-screen marketing, and can easily be combined with snacking.
On the other hand, computer-tailored, and web-based personalised health education has been recognised as a promising means to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors (see for a recent open access paper on this topic). With computer-tailoring, respondents get personalised feedback on the behaviour and behavioural determinants and an individualized behaviour change advice. However, such computer-tailored health education may also increase their screen time…