To examine whether and to what extent the relationship between television viewing and children's weight status differs according to parental weight status.
Population-level survey including in-home and telephone interview components.
Representative sample of children aged 6 to 19 years in 2002 (n = 1483).
Hours of television viewing.
Main Outcome Measures
Child weight status (normal weight, at risk for overweight, overweight) as defined by current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards.
Parental obesity increased the risk of child overweight for all of the children except boys aged 6 to 9 years. There were significant interactions between television viewing hours and parental obesity among boys aged 14 to 19 years and girls aged 10 to 13 years. For these 2 groups, the odds of overweight status increased with viewing hours for children with at least 1 obese parent but not at all for children of normal-weight parents.
Results indicate that when parental obesity is taken into account, television viewing hours do not significantly relate to increased odds of childhood overweight, and parental body mass index may serve to moderate the relationship between television viewing and child weight status among adolescents (but not among younger children). Further examination of the moderating effect of parental body mass index on the relationship between television viewing and child weight status is warranted.