Factors associated with screen time among high school students in Fortaleza, Northeastern Brazil

  • Evanice Avelino de Souza Universidade Federal do Ceará Faculdade de Medicina Programa de pós graduação em ciências médicas
  • Jéssica dos Santos Martins Faculdade Terra Nordeste - fatene
  • Nicolino Trompieri Filho
Keywords: adolescent behavior, adolescent health, video games, television, food preferences, cross-sectional studies.


Aims: To investigate the factors associated with the time adolescents spend watching television, using the computer, or playing video games.

Methods: Cross-sectional study with adolescents attending high school, randomly selected from four schools of the Liceu do Ceará network in the city of Fortaleza, Northeastern Brazil. The number of students invited to participate in the study was proportional to the representative sample of the school. All the data were self-reported, including: daily screen time (time spent watching television or using the video game or the computer), intake of soft drinks, sweets, and packaged snack foods, sex, age, school shift, occupational status, participation in physical education classes, and practice of extracurricular physical activity. The chi-square test for linear trend was used to assess the associations, and the significance level was set as p <0.05.

Results: A total of 964 students (46.4% aged 17 to 19 years and 51.5% female) were assessed. The prevalence of students who watched TV for more than 3 hours a day was 51.1% and the highest rate was observed among younger adolescents of both sexes, who did not work, went to school in the afternoon, and often consumed soft drinks, sweets, and packaged snack foods. Excessive use of computer / video games was observed in 21.85% of the sample, with a higher prevalence among boys who attended school in the morning and regularly consumed packaged snack foods.

Conclusions: Sociodemographic and behavioral factors, including eating habits, are associated with screen time among adolescents. However, associated factors differed depending on the most widely type of media used (TV, computer, or video games). These aspects should be considered in programs for the elimination of leisure time sedentary behavior among adolescents. 


Download data is not yet available.


World Health Organization WHO. Global status report on noncommunicable diseases. Geneva: 2010. [Cited 2014 December 10] Available from: http://www.who.int/nmh/publications/ncd_report_full_en.pdf

Maitland C, Stratton G, Foster S, Braham R, Rosenberg M. A place for play? The influence of the home physical environment on children's physical activity and sedentary behavior. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2013;10(99):1-21. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1479-5868-10-99

LeBlanc AG, Chaput JP, McFarlane A, Colley RC, Thivel D, Biddle SJ, Maddison R, Leatherdale ST, Tremblay MS.Active Video Games and Health Indicators in Children and Youth: A Systematic Review. Plos one. 2013; 8(6): 65351-71. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0065351

Trends in the prevalence of sexual behaviors. National Youth Risk Behavior Survey -YRBS; Atlanta: 2007. [Cited 2014 November 15] Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/results.htm

Autran RG, Rech CR, Mota J, Santos MP. Percepção de regras e de confiança em reduzir o tempo de tela em adolescentes. Rev Bras Ativ Fís Saúde. 2014;19(6):690-2. http://dx.doi.org/10.12820/rbafs.v.19n6p690

Dumith SC, Hallal PC, Menezes A, Araújo CL: Sedentary behavior in adolescents: the 11-year follow-up of the 1993 Pelotas (Brazil) birth cohort study. Cad Saude Publica. 2010;26(10):1928-36. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2010001000009

Cândido AP, Benedetto R, Castro AP, Carmo JS, Nicolato RL, Nascimento-Neto RM, Freitas RN, Freitas SN, Caiaffa WT, Machado-Coelho GL. Cardiovascular risk factors in children and adolescents living in an urban area of Southeast of Brazil: Ouro Preto Study. Eur J Pediatr. 2009;168:1373-82. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00431-009-0940-1

Vasques DG, Lopes AS. Fatores associados à atividade física e aos comportamentos sedentários em adolescentes. Rev Bras Cineantropom Desempenho Hum. 2009;11:59-66.

Ouwens MA, Cebolla A, Strien TV. Eating style, television viewing and snacking in pre-adolescent children. Nutr Hosp. 2012; 27(4):1072-8. http://dx.doi.org/10.3305/nh.2012.27.4.5805

Campagnolo PDB, Vitolo MR, Gama CM. Fatores associados ao hábito de assistir TV em excesso entre adolescentes. Rev Bras Med Esporte. 2008;14(3):197-9. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1517-86922008000300007

Fernandes RA, Christofaro DG, Casonatto J, Kawaguti SS, Ronque ER, Cardoso JR, Freitas Júnior IF, Oliveira AR. Cross-sectional association between healthy and unhealthy food habits and leisure physical activity in adolescents. J Pediatr. 2011;87(3):252-6. http://dx.doi.org/10.2223/JPED.2093

Nunes MMA, Figueiroa JN, Alves JGB. Excesso de peso, atividade física e hábitos alimentares entre adolescentes de diferentes classes econômicas em Campina Grande (PB). Rev Assoc Med Bras. 1992;53(2):130-4.

Fiates GMR, Amboni RDMC, Teixeira E. Comportamento consumidor, hábitos alimentares e consumo de televisão por escolares de Florianópolis. Rev Nutr. 2008;21(1):105-14. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-52732008000100011

Borghese MM, Tremblay MS, Leduc G, Boyer C, Bélanger P, LeBlanc AG, Francis C, Chaput JP. Independent and combined associations of total sedentary time and television viewing time with food intake patterns of 9- to 11-year-old Canadian children. Appl Physicol Nutri Metab. 2014;39(8):1-7. http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2013-0551

Lissner L, Lanfer A, Gwozdz W, Olafsdottir S, Eiben G, Moreno LA, Santaliestra-Pasías AM, Kovács E, Barba G, Loit HM, Kourides Y, Pala V, Pohlabeln H, De Henauw S, Buchecker K, Ahrens W, Reisch L. Television habits in relation to overweight, diet and taste preferences in European children: the IDEFICS study. Eur J Epidemiol. 2012;27:705-15. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10654-012-9718-2

BRASIL. Ministério do Planejamento Orçamento e Gestão. Ministério da Saúde. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística- IBGE. Pesquisa Nacional de saúde do escolar. Rio de Janeiro, 2009.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth risk behavior surveillance – United States, 2007. MMWR. 2008; 57(4):1-130.

Friedrich RR, Polet JP, Schuch I, Wagner MB. Effect of intervention programs in schools to reduce screen time: a meta-analysis. J Pediatr. 2014;90(3):232-41. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jped.2014.01.003

Bucksch J, Inchley J, Hamrik Z, Finne E, Kolip P. Trends in television time, non-gaming PC use and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity among German adolescents, 2002 –2010. BMC Public Health. 2014;14(351):1471-2458. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-14-351

Totland TH, Bjelland M, Lien N, Bergh IH, Gebremariam MK, Grydeland M, Ommundsen Y, Andersen LF. Adolescents' prospective screen time by gender and parental education, the mediation of parental influences. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2013;10:89. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1479-5868-10-89

Nuutinen T, Ray C, Roos E. Do computer use, TV viewing, and the presence of the media in the bedroom predict school-aged children's sleep habits in a longitudinal study? BMC Public Health. 2013;13(1):684. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-13-684

How to Cite
de Souza, E. A., Martins, J. dos S., & Filho, N. T. (2016). Factors associated with screen time among high school students in Fortaleza, Northeastern Brazil. Scientia Medica, 25(4), ID20985. https://doi.org/10.15448/1980-6108.2015.4.20985
Original Articles