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Television Viewing and Using Screens While Eating: Associations with Dietary Intake in Children and Adolescents


Jensen, Melissa L.; Carpentier, Francesca R. Dillman; Corvalán, Camila; Popkin, Barry M.; Evenson, Kelly R.; Adair, Linda S.; & Taillie, Lindsey Smith (2022). Television Viewing and Using Screens While Eating: Associations with Dietary Intake in Children and Adolescents. Appetite, 168, 105670.


Screen time has been associated with overweight and obesity, as well as with poorer dietary quality. However, the reasons explaining these associations are not well understood. The objectives of this cross-sectional study were [1] to determine the extent of overall TV viewing as well as using screens while eating (e.g., watching TV or using a tablet), [2] to compare food and nutrient consumption of on-versus off-screen eating occasions, and [3] to determine whether TV viewing and using screens while eating is associated with overall dietary intake. Participants were from the Food Environment Chilean Cohort (n = 938, 4-6 y) and the Growth and Obesity Cohort Study (n = 752, 12-14 y). Dietary data was collected via one 24-h food recall. For each eating occasion, activity performed during consumption (e.g., watching TV, playing sports) was reported. Weekly TV viewing time was collected via an additional survey instrument. Analyses included multivariable linear and logistic regression. Post-hoc pairwise comparisons examined differences in outcomes by tertiles. Our sample reported a median of 9-13.5 weekly hours of TV viewing and 87.5% reported consuming at least one meal or snack per day while using screens. The median kilocalories contributed by eating during screen use was 387 kcal/d in children and 848 kcal/day in adolescents, which represents 34.7% and 42.3% of daily energy intake, respectively. There were no consistent differences when comparing eating occasions consumed on-screen versus off-screen. Higher weekly TV viewing was associated with elements of a less healthy diet including more sweets and desserts in children, and more sugar sweetened beverages in adolescents. A large percentage of Chilean children and adolescents' daily energy is consumed while using screens. In depth, longitudinal work is needed to understand how screen time eating affects diet quality and nutritional status.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title



Jensen, Melissa L.
Carpentier, Francesca R. Dillman
Corvalán, Camila
Popkin, Barry M.
Evenson, Kelly R.
Adair, Linda S.
Taillie, Lindsey Smith

Article Type


Data Set/Study

Food Environment Chilean Cohort
Growth and Obesity Cohort Study (GOCS)




Popkin - 0000-0001-9495-9324
Taillie - 0000-0002-4555-2525
Adair - 0000-0002-3670-8073
Jensen - 0000-0002-9830-076X