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20.23: TV and Hypertension

Skills to Develop

  • TV viewing time and adverse health

Research conducted by

Perrie E. Pardee, Gregory J. Norman, Robert H. Lustig, Daniel Preud’homme, and Jeffrey B. Schwimmer 

Case study prepared by

Robert F. Houser and Andrew Kennedy


A strong, evidence-based association exists between TV viewing time and the risk of being obese in children and adolescents.  Little or no research, however, has explored adverse health outcomes associated with TV viewing among obese children.  This study aimed at identifying whether or not time spent watching TV is associated with hypertension (high blood pressure) in obese children.

Obese children aged \(4\) to \(17\) years were recruited and evaluated at three pediatric centers.  Obesity was defined as a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to the \(95^{th}\) percentile for the child’s age and gender.

Questions to Answer

Is TV watching associated with hypertension in obese children?

Design Issues 

The study involved a cross-sectional design, which prevented the determination of possible causality among the associations found.  There could be unmeasured factors that play a role in the association between TV viewing and hypertension.

Descriptions of Variables

Table \(\PageIndex{1}\): Description of Variables

Variable Description
Hypertension Defined as a systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure greater than or equal to the 95th percentile for the child’s age, gender, and height
Age A child’s age in years
BMI A child's body mass index, calculated as: (weight in kilograms) / (height in meters)2
Hours of TV/day An estimate of a child’s average daily time spent watching TV in hours


  • Pardee, P. E., Norman, G. J., Lustig, R. H., Preud’homme, D., Schwimmer, J. B. (2007). Television viewing and hypertension in obese children. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 33, 439-443.
  • Luma, G. B., Spiotta, R. T. (2006). Hypertension in children and adolescents. American Family Physician, 73, 1558-1568.


  • Online Statistics Education: A Multimedia Course of Study ( Project Leader: David M. Lane, Rice University.