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Factors associated with media use among adolescents: a multilevel approach

Xavier Garcia-Continente, Anna Pérez-Giménez, Albert Espelt, Manel Nebot Adell
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckt013 5-10 First published online: 8 February 2013

Abstract

Background: During the last few years, several studies have reported a high screen time use among adolescents that can be related to negative health effects. The aims of this study were to describe screen time use among secondary school students and to identify individual- and school-level factors associated with media use. Methods: A cross-sectional study based on a self-reported questionnaire was performed among a representative sample of 2675 secondary school students (13–19 years old). Adolescents reported the amount of time spent viewing television, playing videogames and using the computer as well as other health-related behaviours and attitudes. Multilevel analysis was carried out and prevalence ratios were calculated to determine the association between media use and related factors. Results: Around 50% of the students reported watching television for ≥2 h/day during weekdays. Boys reported playing videogames for ≥2 h/weekday much more often than girls (14.6 and 1.5%, respectively). 68.2% of boys and 61.7% of girls reported using the computer for ≥2 h/weekday. In the multilevel analysis, the main factors associated with screen-related sedentary behaviours were attending schools from a low socio-economic status neighbourhood, eating unhealthy food and not reading books frequently. Conclusion: The prevalence of adolescents reporting an excessive use of media devices is high, especially among students attending schools from deprived areas. Interventions to reduce screen time among adolescents may be necessary to reduce the risk of some metabolic and cardiovascular diseases such as being overweight and obesity in late adolescence or early adulthood.

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