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The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-193) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
C–CL and T–CL contributed equally to the design of the study and direction of its implementation, including supervision of the field activities, quality assurance and control. P–CC, C–SL, C–IL, W–YL, C–CC and S–YY supervise the field activities. P–CC and M–TW helped conduct the literature review and prepare the Materials and Methods and the Discussion sections of the text. P–CC, T–CL and C–IL designed the study's analytic strategy and conducted the data analysis.
As a result of metabolic syndrome becoming an important issue during recent decades, many studies have explored the risk factors contributing to its development. However, less attention has been paid to the risk associated with sedentary behavior, especially television viewing. This study examined the association between television viewing time and the risk of having metabolic syndrome in a population of Taiwanese subjects.
This community-based cross-sectional study included 2,353 subjects (1,144 men and 1,209 women) aged 40 and over from October, 2004 to September, 2005. Information about the time spent watching TV was obtained using a self-administered questionnaire. The definition of metabolic syndrome was according to the Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program's Adult Treatment Panel modified for Asians.
Compared to subjects who viewed TV < 14 hr/week, those who viewed TV > 20 hr/week had a 1.50-fold (95% confidence intervals (CI): 1.10, 2.03) risk for men and a 1.93-fold (95% CI: 1.37, 2.71) risk for women of having metabolic syndrome, after adjusting for physical activity and other covariates. Stratifying by the three categories of total activity levels, TV viewing time > 20 hr/week was found to still hold a significant risk for having metabolic syndrome in the lowest of the three categories of total activity level for men and in all three categories of total activity level for women.
The findings suggest that TV viewing is an independent risk factor associated with metabolic syndrome in Taiwanese people.